(WOIO) - Bernard K. Watkins, age 54, of Shaker Heights, Ohio, was sentenced to six years in prison following his convictions for two counts of Extortion Under Color of Official Right and one count of Bribery in Federally Funded Programs, Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and C. Frank Figliuzzi, Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Division of the FBI, announced today.
"People who use their position to violate the public's trust cannot and will not be tolerated," Dettelbach said. "Contracts are supposed to go to the best bidder, not somebody's best friend or the person who gave a cash bribe."
Said Figliuzzi: "There are severe consequences for betraying the public's trust. If there are any officials left who haven't figured that out yet, this sentencing should send that message."
The sentencing took place in Akron before the Honorable Judge John R. Adams in Case No. 1:09CR490.
Watkins previously was found guilty after a jury trial of receiving $7,000 in cash, and using his official position of Technical Supervisor for Safety and Security with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District ("CMSD"). As an agent of CMSD, Watkins was responsible for supervising contracts for security systems within the district, including closed circuit security cameras and alarms.