Former Hattiesburg Public Works G.M. pleads guilty to kickback scheme

Former Hattiesburg Public Works G.M. pleads guilty to kickback scheme
The City of Hattiesburg released its final paving list for fiscal year 2018, including at least one street in each of the five wards. (Photo Source: City of Hattiesburg)

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Former Hattiesburg Public Works General Manager pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court.

John T. "Tim" Pittman, 54, a former City of Hattiesburg employee, pled guilty in connection to a conspiracy involving a kickback scheme which defrauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Pittman will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett on May 18, 2015. The maxium penalty for conspiracy is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Pittman's father, T.L. Pittman Jr., owns multiple apartment complexes throughout the State of Mississippi, which were financed through the USDA.

Pittman Jr., through his company Century Management, Inc., contracted with Mike Miller to work for Pittman Jr., owned USDA-financed apartment complexes.

Prior to working for Century Management, Miller was told by Pittman Jr. that he would have to pay Pittman a kickback in order to be awarded contracts from Century Management.

Miller agreed and began paying Pittman cash from the contracts that he was awarded by Century Management.

As part of the conspiracy, Miller would pay Tim Pittman the kickback in cash with the understanding that it would be passed along to his father, T.L. Pittman, Jr.

Between February 2008 and November 2008, Miller submitted various false bids in the names of fictitious companies purporting to be legitimate bids competing with Miller's bid for work for Century Management at Liberty Place Apartments.

These false bids submitted by Miller were all higher than Miller's own bid in order to ensure Miller was awarded the contract.

As a result, Miller was awarded the contract for Liberty Place Apartments, and ultimately paid more than $50,000 pursuant to the contract, some of which he used to kickback cash to T.L. Pittman, Jr., paying such cash through T.L. Pittman, Jr.'s son, Tim Pittman.

T.L. Pittman Jr. is expected to be sentenced the week of March 2, 2015, or after according to a recent motion filed.