A Camp Pendleton Contracting Official has been arrested on bribery charges. FBI agents say he got kickbacks for helping to award federal contracts. NBC 7's Danya Bacchus reports.
A Camp Pendleton official has been accused of accepting bribes for years, according to the FBI.
Natividad "Nate" Lara Cervantes, 64, served as a U.S. Department of Defense employee and a supervisor for Construction and Service Contracts, Inspection Branch at Camp Pendleton.
He allegedly used his position to extort bribes from businesses seeking to do business at Camp Pendleton.
"He had no right to make these demands upon these businesses," said FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth.
Court documents show Cervantes he told an FBI cooperating witness that he was referred to as the "Godfather" at Camp Pendleton.
"They were in fear that if they didn't do it, they wouldn't obtain the contracts in this case," Foxworth said.
Cervantes was caught using an FBI cooperating witness, according to Daphne Hearn, Special Agent in Charge (SAC), of the FBI San Diego Field Office.
Last week the complaint against Cervantes claimed he received $40,000 in cash in exchange for using his influence for a contract.
Specifically, he assisted in obtaining for a contractor a new $4 million flooring contract at Camp Pendleton.
On Thursday, March 28, Cervantes was arrested around 6:40 p.m. around the 7000 block of Miramar Road after allegedly accepting $10,000 cash from the witness.
The $10,000 was a partial payment of a $40,000 bribe.
According to the complaint, Cervantes has been receiving bribes and other crimes related to his management of construction contracts at Camp Pendleton since September of 2008.
Cervantes allegedly received thousands of dollars in cash payments and remodeling work on his condominium.