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CEO of Atlanta airport shuttle service sentenced in bribery case

He was sentenced to one year, ten months imprisonment, to be followed by three years supervised release.

ATLANTA — The CEO of an airport shuttle service at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been sentenced to federal prison for paying $20,000 cash to a City of Atlanta official in order to secure a contract for a restaurant at the airport, the U.S. Attorney's office announced Tuesday. 

Hayat Choudhary is the CEO of Atlanta Airport Shuttle Services, Inc., doing business as Meskerem Restaurant. In 2017, the city's department of procurement sought to enter a contract for a vendor that would create a kitchen/restaurant at the ground transportation building. 

According to court documents, it would serve the large and growing number of taxi, limousine, and rideshare drivers that provided transportation services to passengers traveling to and from Atlanta’s airport. They projected it would generate an annual revenue of $200,000. 

Choudhary's company was one of the bidders for the contract. 

According to U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak, the charges and other information presented in court, the city official overseeing the bidding process received $10,000 when the initial contract was announced. 

The official told Choudhary that he would need to pay another $10,000 to receive the contract. 

Once both payments were made, Choudhary's company was awarded the contract, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. 

Choudhary, 58, of Lilburn, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones to one year, 10 months imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release.

“The public expects that government contracts are awarded solely based on merit,” Pak said. “As the defendant learned, there are serious consequences for those who believe they can bribe their way into a contract. We will continue to vigorously investigate pay-to-play schemes at all levels of government.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this case.