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Contractor Who Bribed San Francisco Public Works Director Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Federal prosecutors announced Thursday that a contractor who pleaded guilty of bribing embattled former San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru has been sentenced to two years in federal prison.

Federal prosecutors first charged Alan Varela, 60, a year ago, with conspiracy to commit honest service wire fraud by bribing a city official and, in May of this year, Varela pleaded guilty.

In addition to serving 24 months in prison, Valera will also have to pay a $127,000 fine as part of his sentence.

Prosecutors said that while Varela, an Orinda resident, worked as president of the civil engineering and construction firm PRoVen Management, he and the firm's then-vice president William Gilmartin provided gifts to Nuru, including $20,000 in meals and a $40,000 tractor for Nuru's personal vacation home in 2019. In return, Nuru allegedly provided the pair with inside information about a city contract that Varela and Gilmartin were seeking to build and operate an asphalt recycling plant.

The conspiracy to bribe Nuru dates back to 2013 and occurred through January 2020 -- when Nuru was arrested by federal investigators on suspicion of wire fraud, prosecutors said.

Gilmartin, 61, was also charged with conspiracy to commit honest service wire fraud by bribing a city official last year and also pleaded guilty back in May of this year. Gilmartin has not been sentenced yet.

Varela's sentence is due to start in January 2022.

Since Nuru's arrest, federal prosecutors have begun a large-scale investigation into city corruption and, so far, 11 defendants have been charged, including some high-ranking city officials like former Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services director Sandra Zuniga and former San Francisco Public Utilities Commission general manager Harlan Kelly.

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