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July 29, 2013

Ex-IT leader admits to crime

Bryan Cahoon faces up to 10 years in federal prison

LAWRENCE — The former director of the city’s Information Technology Department has admitted to cheating the city out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal money for improving municipal computer and communications systems.

Bryan J. Cahoon, 53, of Dover, N.H., faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $800,000 after pleading guilty to a felony count of theft and fraud concerning programs receiving federal funds.

But Cahoon would only get up to 18 months in prison if the judge accepts the sentence recommended by U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz’s office. The fine could be reduced substantially if the court determines Cahoon is incapable of paying it. The U.S. Attorney is also recommending three years of supervised release after prison and a mandatory special assessment of $100, according to the agreement.

Cahoon, who worked more than four years for the city’s IT department as an employee and later a consultant, engaged in “a scheme to steal” federal money during a period from early 2008 until late 2009, according to court documents filed last month.

During that period, Cahoon “subverted” state bidding laws and caused at least eight contracts with the city totaling $193,460 “to be awarded to his friends and associates,” Assistant U.S. Attorney William Bloomer said in a 17-page “information” document that cited eight unnamed associates as “cooperating” witnesses. An “information’’ takes the place of an indictment and is a formal accusation that a person committed a crime.

The court records said Cahoon, while doing business as Networks@Home LLC, subcontracted work on city projects from Company A and used several individuals awarded city IT department contracts as well as paid interns hired by Cahoon, to perform the subcontracted work. At the same time, they were being paid by the city to perform different work for the IT department, the documents said.

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