AG Myers Files Lawsuit Against Monem, Wife To Recover Assets Owed To State
Action Follows Monem's Flight From Oregon, Ending Negotiations to Resolve Criminal and Civil Liability for Alleged Bribe-Taking
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the filing of a civil action in Marion County Circuit Court against Farhad "Fred" Monem (Monem) and Karen Monem (Karen Monem).
Myers' complaint, on behalf of the State of Oregon (State), alleges that Monem and Karen Monem, over a period of about thirty months, received over $600,000 in bribes from suppliers of food to the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) in exchange for food purchases from the bribe-giving suppliers while Monem was an ODOC employee responsible for such purchases. The complaint further alleges, among other claims of relief, that the conduct of Monem and Karen Monem, and the bribe-giving suppliers, violated Oregon's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (ORICO) Act and antitrust laws.
A federal investigation revealed the alleged wrongdoing of the Monems in court filings on January 19, 2007. Since then, federal authorities had been in negotiations with the Monems seeking an agreed plea to criminal charges and an agreed settlement of the civil monetary claims of both the United States and the State. Federal investigators and prosecutors had seized approximately $650,000 in cash and other assets from the Monems. A few days ago, however, Monem fled Oregon, precipitating the filing of federal criminal charges against Monem of conspiracy to solicit and receive bribery or kickback payments on behalf of programs receiving federal assistance, and ending the negotiations related to the Monems' criminal and civil liability. Arrest warrants for Monem and his wife were also issued.
"Until Monem became a fugitive from justice, Oregon had been working with the United States Attorney's office to resolve the state's civil claims against Monem arising from his alleged bribe-taking," Myers said. "His fleeing Oregon compels us to move to ensure that Monem's assets are applied to recover ODOC payments to food suppliers that the state alleges were funneled to Monem as bribes."
The ORICO Act prohibits groups of people from participating in an enterprise whose purpose is to make money by engaging in criminal conduct, including bribery. State antitrust laws also prohibit using bribes to secure state contracts.
In the complaint, Myers, among other relief, seeks an order (a) requiring the Monems to forfeit to the State real and personal property, including proceeds of their alleged racketeering enterprise, and money used in, derived from or realized through their allegedly unlawful conduct; (b) requiring Monem to forfeit to the State all salary and benefits received as a result of his allegedly unlawful conduct; (c) requiring the Monems to pay civil penalties for each law violation; and (d) requiring the Monems to pay the State's costs of investigation and litigation, including reasonable attorneys' fees.
A copy of the complaint and associated materials is available online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Pete Shepherd, 503-378-6002 (media only) firstname.lastname@example.org