SAN FRANCISCO—United States District Judge William Orrick sentenced Florence Kong, 63, to prison on Friday, February 12, for crimes she allegedly committed in 2019.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California, Kong was sentenced to prison for one year and one day and ordered to pay a $95,000 fine for bribing Mohammed Nuru, former San Francisco Department of Public Works (DPW) Director and making false statements to FBI agents.
“The sentence handed down today recognizes the seriousness of Florence Kong’s offenses,” said U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson in the Attorney’s Office news release.
The authorities indicated that Kong used her wealth to cheat other public contractors out of work, ensuring her company more profits and business.
“In this case, a Bay Area millionaire used her wealth to bribe Mr. Nuru and secure her own company’s contract; leaving honest, hardworking contractors unable to compete for business and ultimately compromising the entire system of fair competition,” said Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair in the news release.
Back in October of 2020, authorities said Kong pled guilty to the charges by giving Nuru “a gold Rolex watch she purchased for him for $36,550 on or about December 19, 2019.”
“Kong admitted she believed that Nuru was one of the most powerful public officials in San Francisco who, as DPW Director, wielded tremendous influence over San Francisco’s public contracts, permits, and DWP business as well as other City departments and agencies,” the authorities explained.
The Attorney’s Office said that Kong also admitted to making false statements “repeatedly to FBI agents who interviewed her during the investigation, falsely stating that Nuru was her friend but they never discussed business, that he never helped her with contracts, and that she never gave Nuru money.”
Authorities said Kong “pressured” Nuru to provide her construction and real estate businesses a permit that would increase her profits. Once Nuru acquiesced to her demands, the Attorney’s Office indicated that Kong “repeatedly pressed Nuru to increase the business DPW” did with her company, SFR Recovery Inc.
In return for Nuru’s cooperation, authorities say Kong awarded him gifts like the gold Rolex watch.
Nuru was arrested in January 2020 for fraud and lying to investigators, the Attorney’s Office said.
According to Special Agent Fair, “The FBI’s ongoing public corruption investigation continues to uncover a pernicious pattern of criminal activity committed by San Francisco city contractors, motivated by greed, who exploit their relationships with public officials.”
“Both corrupt officials and those who corrupt them are accountable for their crimes, U.S. Attorney Anderson said in the news release, “Our City Hall prosecutions are not over. The investigation continues.”