Wife of ex-VRE employee pleads guilty in bribery case

By |
Local,Virginia,Transportation,Crime,Kytja Weir,Corruption,Bribery,Railroads

The wife of a former Virginia Railway Express employee pleaded guilty to helping conceal more than $200,000 in bribes, then using the money to pay household bills.

Angela Jannell, 50, of Fredericksburg, could now face up to three years in prison for the single count of "misprision of a felony," which means failing to report knowledge of a crime, according to the office of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride. Her husband, Kevin Wirth Jannell, had pleaded guilty to bribery in September and could face 10 years in jail.

Through Kevin Jannell's job as a facilities manager at the VRE train service, he took up to $4,000 per month from 2003 until March from a subcontractor that provided landscaping and maintenance at VRE facilities, according to court documents. In exchange, he gave them favorable evaluations that allowed them to keep the contract. Prosecutors estimate the bribes brought in between $200,000 and $400,000.

The couple then concealed the money by creating a company with Angela Jannell listed as president, then billing the subcontractor each month. She used the money to pay for household bills and expenses, according to court records.

Kevin Jannell's sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 18, according to MacBride's office, while Angela Jannell is slated to be sentenced March 15.

The subcontractor was not named in the court records. But the work was part of a five-year contract given to NV Enterprises of Reston. In October, the VRE board voted to give NV a six-month extension on its contract, after agency staff assured board members that there was no indication NV was involved in the kickback scheme and could not legally be punished, according to VRE records. NV also promised to hire a new subcontractor by Nov. 1.

The scheme was the latest trouble for the popular commuter service that shuttles workers from suburban Northern Virginia to their D.C. jobs. This fall, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell asked for a state investigation into allegations that two of the agency's executives, a married couple, misused VRE funds in a side business. The Virginia auditor of public accounts is leading the investigation, which officials said Friday is still ongoing.

kweir@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Kytja Weir

Staff Writer - Transportation
The Washington Examiner