AMTRAK SUPERINTENDENT OF TRANSPORTATION PLEADS GUILTY TO MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS TO OIG AGENTS IN INVESTIGATION OF CONTRACT STEERING
On October 12, 2017, Benjamin Sheets, Amtrak Superintendent of Transportation, Chicago Union Station, pleaded guilty to making false statements to our agents. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois, announced that Sheets admitted in a plea agreement that he steered work to his wife’s company to photograph train riders and families at Amtrak’s “Polar Express” event. Sheets was also the business manager for his wife’s company and failed to disclose this relationship to Amtrak. When Sheets learned that our office was investigating the contract, he created false records and made false statements to our agents.
“The American people deserve fair and honest services from those entrusted to manage aspects of our nation’s passenger rail service,” said Inspector General Tom Howard. “Amtrak personnel who make false statements in an effort to achieve personal gain will be held accountable. Our office will vigorously investigate and help bring to justice those who engage in such criminal activity as we work to protect Amtrak funds, American taxpayers, and the traveling public.”
Sheets was also terminated from the company on October 12, 2017, for failing to notify the company of a conflict of interest, engaging in fraudulent conduct, and making false statements and submitting false records to our agents. Judicial proceedings are pending.