Former Director of Broward Traffic Engineering Division Facing Bribery Charges: Authorities

Jihad El Eid, 53, now lives in Lebanon and did not appear in court

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013  |  Updated 11:19 PM EDT
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A former director of the Broward County Traffic Engineering Division faces bribery charges in connection with county contracts, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Jihad El Eid, 53, formerly of Plantation, was one of four defendants charged in all, U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer and other federal officials announced.

El Eid and his relative Wael El Eid, 45, formerly of Coral Springs, have been charged with bribery in connection with programs receiving federal funds, highway fraud, mail fraud, extortion under color of official right, and conspiracy to commit those offenses, authorities said in a statement. Both defendants now live in Lebanon and did not appear in court, authorities added.

Anthoneel Allen, 40, of Sunrise and James Hashim, 50, of Plantation have been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery in programs receiving federal funds, highway fraud, mail fraud, extortion under color of official right, tax fraud and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise fraud, authorities said. They made their initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Seltzer Wednesday morning and were released on $100,000 bond, according to authorities.

El Eid became director of the Broward department in 1998, and in 2009 he also began serving as acting assistant director of the Public Works Department, according to the criminal complaint against him.

Allen owned Southeast Underground Utilities Corp., a Plantation business that installed, repaired and maintained streetlights and traffic signals, and in about 2005 he hired Hashim to work as an estimator and help obtain government contracts, authorities said. Before 2005, SUU had no contracts with Broward County.

But from the fall of 2006 through 2010, at Jihad El Eid’s request, Allen and Hashim provided him with more than $150,000 in cash, a 2003 Ford Taurus, and a job at SUU for Wael El Eid, authorities said.

Allen and Hashim allegedly made the payments to curry favor with Jihad El Eid, and in return he allegedly helped their company get work on multimillion-dollar projects with the BCTED, authorities said. Jihad El Eid also aided SUU with billing and other matters that resulted in the company being overpaid by at least $3 million, according to authorities.

Allen also filed a fraudulent application for SUU to have it certified as a “Disadvantaged Business Enterprise,” with the result that SUU was awarded directly or as a subcontractor about 25 contracts from Broward County and other government entities in Florida, authorities said. Based on its fraudulently obtained status, the company was entitled to receive more than $10 million in government contracts, authorities said.

In addition, Allen and Hashim conspired to evade paying taxes related to the purchase of Hashim’s $1.25 million house in Plantation, according to authorities.

It was not immediately known whether the four defendants have hired attorneys.

“Corruption in the procurement process is unacceptable, especially when it affects programs receiving federal funds,” Ferrer said. “It is crucial that businesses compete on a level playing field, without improper outside influences or the payment or receipt of bribes. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to prosecute those who steal from programs receiving federal funds.”

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