Thursday, April 24, 2014 6:00 AM
Published on: Sunday, November 18, 2012
By Jim Davis
A Bowie man was sentenced to spend 366 days in a federal prison followed by three years of supervised release along with paying $250,000 in restitution for his role in the Prince George’s County corruption scandal involving former county executive Jack Johnson.
Some people are calling Patrick Q. Ricker, 53, the “linchpin,” who helped federal authorities reel in Johnson in the far-reaching bribery and corruption scheme. But Ricker’s extensive cooperation, which a federal prosecutor called “unprecedented,” won’t keep him out of prison.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced Ricker to prison for conspiring to provide gifts and services to public officials in exchange for favorable official action and for tax evasion..
The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein, Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Special Agent in Charge Rick A. Raven of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington , D.C. Field Office.
According to Ricker’s plea agreement and court documents, Ricker is a real estate broker and president of Ricker Brothers, Inc. Ricker and other co-conspirators, including developers Daniel I. Colton and Karl Granzow, had ownership interests in Greenbelt Metropark, which sought to design, develop and build a mixed-use project near the Greenbelt Metro Station, called Greenbelt Station. Ricker and his co-conspirators also had an ownership interest in Day Homes, which was incorporated to construct single-family homes in Maryland.
From about 1997 through at least Sept. 11, 2008, Ricker and his co-conspirators regularly provided money, trip expenses, meals, drinks, hotel rooms, airline tickets, rounds of golf, sexual services, employment and monetary and in-kind campaign contributions to state and local officials, in exchange for obtaining approvals for the Greenbelt Station site plan, creating the Greenbelt Station Special Taxing District, and getting Greenbelt Station listed as the No. 5 priority on the State Highway Administration list of project/construction priorities.
In addition, state and local officials assisted in the acquisition of surplus property and land from Prince George’s County for development by Day Homes, provided Ricker and his co-conspirators with non-public county information, voted in favor of County Council resolutions favorable to the conspirators’ development projects, and ensured that a specific developer would obtain a contract to purchase certain buildings from the county, among other things.
State and local officials concealed the items they received from Ricker and his co-conspirators by failing to report them on disclosure statements or by misrepresenting their nature and value.
Ricker and his co-conspirators concealed campaign contributions that were above state and federal legal limits by recruiting “straw donors,” including family members and employees, to make state and federal campaign contributions with funds provided by or reimbursed by Ricker and his co-conspirators.
Ricker and his co-conspirators also concealed the volume of their campaign contributions by providing in-kind contributions, such as campaign signs, food, alcohol and the administrative services of their employees and family members.
Finally, in an attempt to evade federal income tax for tax years 2004 to 2007, Ricker under-reported his taxable income by more than $1.1 million.
Ricker is the last person in a long list of Prince George’s County officials and business leaders to be sentenced in the corruption scheme.