Army Corpsman Gets Four Years for Taking Bribe


     GALVESTON, Texas (CN) - An Army Corps of Engineers supervisor was sentenced to four years in prison for making a contractor pave his driveway and foot the $80,000 bill to keep getting government contracts.
     Christopher Castillo, 33, of Monte Alto pleaded guilty to bribery in August, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
     At Castillo's sentencing hearing on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa "commented that Castillo was living the American Dream as an engineer with a master's degree, but that was not enough for him," prosecutors said.
     Castillo worked out of the Corps' Galveston office, and supervised projects done by government contractors throughout South Texas.
     "One such contractor had been involved in numerous construction jobs for the U.S. government in 2010, 2011 and 2012, including an emergency power cooling building for the U.S. Border Patrol located in Hidalgo County," prosecutors said.
     "As supervisor of that project, Castillo could terminate work if he believed it was unfavorable or he could unfavorably report to USACE thereby preventing the company from getting future contracts.
     "A USACID agent obtained information that Castillo solicited and received a new concrete driveway from the owner of that company in late 2010 while it was engaged in contract services for the U.S. government.
     "Specifically, Castillo asked that his driveway be paved and that the owner must pay for the work. The owner was afraid to refuse because Castillo could prevent him from getting government contracts.
     "The owner paid another person to install the driveway, paid the expenses and supplied much of the material. The project had an estimated value of $80,000 and was completed on or about Jan. 14, 2012."
     Castillo was also fined $50,000.
     He is free on bond. It is not yet determined where he will serve his time.