Former manager of Santa Clara County cement plant sentenced in bribery scheme

FILE - Generic gavel on wooden table.

A former manager of the Permanente Cement Plant and Quarry near Cupertino has been sentenced to a year in county jail following his conviction last year in a bribery scheme that involved more than $100,000 in kickbacks and a luxury trip to Italy.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office announced the sentencing Monday for Juan Pedro Yanez, 40, who was convicted last year of conspiracy to defraud and 11 counts of commercial bribery. Yanez received over $50,000 in bribes in 2015-2016 from Robert Segura Jr., a preferred contractor. In turn, Mr. Segura and his companies received over $6 million in work during that same period from the plant.  

The grand jury returned a 35-count indictment in December 2019 that charged Yanez and other former managers and contractors with crimes reflecting their scheme at the Permanente Plant. Yanez pleaded no contest to all the charges against him in December 2020.

This week's announcement noted that Segura, 53, and his two corporations still face an indictment that alleges conspiracy to defraud, bribery, grand theft, money laundering and perjury. Segura faces prison time if convicted.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen said, "Bribery undermines hard work, honesty, and integrity. It undermines the American concept of fairness. Let the best person win."

Rosen's announcement included a detailed account of the scheme uncovered in the course of the investigation:

"Yanez steered work to his favorite contractor through a variety of illegal schemes. Yanez used the fact that his preferred contractor was already on-site as an excuse to use that contractor for more work instead of awarding the work to the lowest bidder. He also avoided the bidding process altogether by having the employees he supervised create purchase orders after-the-fact for work already performed by that contractor. Moreover, Yanez had those employees structure the purchase orders to meet his approval limits to avoid needing high level management approvals to issue payments to that contractor.

Among other things, the investigation found the bribery checks deposited into Yanez's financial accounts, and Yanez forwarding confidential job bidding information from his personal email account to Segura. Yanez also went on a tour of Italy trip with the contractor and their spouses at the contractor's expense, which Yanez also then also submitted as a false work-related expense to the victim Lehigh Hanson, Inc."