A Paulding resident recently pleaded guilty to charges related to a former federal official’s conflict of interest scheme which included steering janitorial work to a company in which the official had a financial interest.
Ivan Ponder, 49, of Hiram, pleaded guilty July 15 to aiding and abetting the scheme carried out by a senior facilities technician for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a news release stated.
The official, Elvis Gordon, 53, of Marietta, pleaded guilty Tuesday, Aug. 6, to a federal conflict of interest charge involving more than $126,000 worth of jobs performed at Atlanta’s FDA facility.
The jobs were performed by P&E Management LLC, which was owned by Ponder and in which Gordon had a direct financial interest, the release stated.
U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said federal employees “are in a position of public trust and, as they perform their duties, must be held to the highest standards of integrity.”
“Instead of exposing his conflict of interest, Mr. Gordon capitalized on it, putting his personal benefit above his obligation to serve the public,” Pak said.
The news release stated that, according to Pak, the charges and other information presented in court, the FDA hired Gordon in 1997.
From November 2010 through December 2017, Gordon was responsible for scheduling and overseeing building maintenance and the purchase of janitorial supplies for the FDA’s district office in Atlanta.
During the same time period, Gordon had a financial interest in P&E Management LLC, a Georgia corporation principally owned and operated by Ponder, who is Gordon’s co-defendant.
“With Gordon’s oversight and project support, P&E was continually selected as a vendor to supply maintenance and janitorial services at Atlanta’s FDA facility,” the release stated.
In addition, Gordon often paid P&E for its work by using an FDA credit card issued to him, the release stated.
Gordon neither disclosed to FDA management that he had a personal connection to P&E, nor did he report to the FDA that he was receiving financial payments from P&E, the release stated.
Special Agent in Charge Antoinette V. Richard of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Office of Internal Affairs, said, “All federal employees are subject to specific ethics requirements that inform standards for their professional conduct and address matters such as conflicting financial interests, impartiality in performing official duties, and misuse of their position, among other things.”
Sentencing for Ponder is set for Nov. 12 before U.S. District Judge Mark H. Cohen, according to information from the court.
Sentencing for Gordon is scheduled for Nov. 17, also before Cohen.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations Office of Internal Affairs.