Robert Webster

Robert Webster

A Davenport man was sentenced Thursday to one year and a day in federal prison for accepting bribes over several years while working as an electrician for the city of Bettendorf.

Robert W. Webster, 66, must pay $50,000 in fines and serve three years of mandatory supervised release once he completes his prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge John Jarvey ruled at a lengthy sentencing hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court, Davenport.

There is no parole in the federal system.

Webster pleaded guilty on July 22 to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery involving governments receiving federal funds and two counts of bribery concerning governments receiving federal funds on the third day of his trial.

According to federal prosecutors:

From at least 2004-10, Webster conspired with employees at Brown Traffic Products Inc. of Davenport to accept all-expenses-paid trips. including airfare, lodging, meals, drinks and entertainment, intending to be rewarded or influenced in connection with business transactions with the city of Bettendorf.

He admitted that in March 2009, he accepted $2,700 from an employee of Brown Traffic Products in the form of a check issued to Webster's wife and deposited into her credit union account.

Webster further admitted that in September 2009, he accepted payment for golf at the Kokopelli golf course in Gilbert, Arizona, from an employee of Brown Traffic Products as a reward or as influence for transactions with the city, according to federal prosecutors.

Webster was indicted on the charges in January 2014.

He worked for the city for 32 years as an electrician in the Community Development Department and was paid an annual salary of $62,173 before becoming the subject of a federal investigation in October 2010. The city conducted its own investigation but ended it without reaching a conclusion when Webster resigned one month later in November 2010.

Defense attorney Murray Bell wrote in a memo submitted prior to sentencing that Webster has never denied the “actual conduct at issue,” which is that he received the benefits from Brown Traffic Products.

“He has simply denied that his receiving those benefits under the facts of this case constituted the crime charged,” Murray wrote. “He has believed he was being compensated for many hours of work, as more than 800 hours, he completed for the benefit of BTP (Brown Traffic Products).”

Bell also disputed the amount of monetary loss that was attributed to Webster and said Webster believed he is the victim of "vindictive and selective prosecution."

During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Jarvey sentenced Webster to one year and one day on the conspiracy charge and one year and one day on each of the bribery charges. The sentences will run concurrently, or at the same time.

The judge also found that Webster had obstructed the “due administration of justice and had not accepted responsibility for his crimes,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Co-defendant Robert L. Budd Jr., a former manager at Brown Traffic Products, was sentenced in January to four months in federal prison.

Co-defendants Daniel O. Fuchs and David Schiltz, also former employees of Brown Traffic Products, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in connection with the case.

Fuchs was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $17,500 fine. Schiltz also was sentenced to three years of probation, as well as six months of home confinement and ordered to pay a $150,000 fine.

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