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US Navy veteran sentenced to four years in Russian bribery scheme

Department of Justice. (Scott "Skippy"/Flickr)

The founder of a Frederick distillery received a four-year prison sentence Wednesday for his role in bribing a Russian atomic energy official in order to win government contracts for the company he formerly co-owned, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

Mark Lambert, of Mount Airy, received the prison sentence, along with three years of unsupervised release and a $20,000 fine after being convicted of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, wire fraud and conspiracy.

Lambert was found guilty by a jury in U.S. District Court in November 2019 in Greenbelt during a trial that lasted three weeks and included seven days of deliberations.

“The court acknowledged and accepted the several mitigating factors I articulated on Mr Lambert’s behalf in the sentencing hearing, as well as his highly distinguished military record. We continue to evaluate our appellate options,” said Lambert’s attorney William Sullivan Jr.

Lambert served in the United States Navy.

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Lambert, who founded Frederick’s Dragon Distillery, was found guilty by a jury in U.S. District Court in November 2019 in Greenbelt during a trial that lasted three weeks and included seven days of deliberations. Lambert must report to the U.S. Marshals Service by Feb. 15, 2021, to begin serving his prison sentence, according to the press release.

Lambert played a role in bribing Vadim Mikerin — an official at Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corp. — to get contracts to transport uranium in the U.S. and abroad, according to the charges and his conviction. However, while Lambert was convicted of four counts of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, two counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and commit wire fraud, the jury did acquit him of three counts of violating the FCPA and of money laundering, according to previous stories in the Frederick News-Post.

Lambert was president of Transport Logistics International Inc. (TLI). TLI agreed to pay a $2 million penalty in March 2018 to resolve the claims of bribery, according to previous reports in The News-Post.

For approximately seven years, in order to secure contracts with TENEX, Lambert conspired with others at TLI to make over $1.5 million in fraudulent bribe payments to Mikerin through offshore shell companies Mikerin directed them to pay. To conceal the bribe payments, Lambert and his co-conspirators caused fake invoices to be prepared, purportedly from TENEX to TLI, that described services that were never provided, according to the release. Lambert and others then used the fake invoices to justify and conceal the bribes they caused to be transmitted by wire to shell company bank accounts in Latvia, Cyprus and Switzerland, the release said.

TLI received contracts to transport uranium in the U.S. and abroad from TENEX between 2004 and 2014 and made about $11.6 million from the scheme, according to previous reports. Lambert became involved in 2009. He took over the company and the scheme in 2010, with help from then-co-president Daren Condrey, according to previous reports.

Condrey pleaded guilty in June 2015 to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and conspiring to commit wire fraud. Condrey signed a plea agreement in June 2015 and is awaiting sentencing.

Lambert faced a maximum of 65 years in prison for the charges against him.

Mikerin, who formerly lived in Chevy Chase, was previously sentenced to four years in federal prison.

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(c) 2020 The Frederick News-Post

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.