monopoly_money.jpgA Walnut Creek husband and wife who own an Oakland software and communications firm are facing charges in federal court in Sacramento of bribery and bid-rigging in connection with Caltrans contracts.

Siavash “Mike” Poursartip, 56, and Sara Shirazi, 52, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Sacramento Thursday on charges of bribery and theft, conspiracy to commit bribery and theft, and mail fraud.

The indictment alleges that the bribery and bid-rigging were carried out between 2004 and 2009 and cost Caltrans $1.2 million.

The couple are suspected of bribing 48-year-old Clint Gregory of Sacramento, a senior transportation engineer supervisor for Caltrans, who is also accused of mail fraud and accepting bribes.

Lauren Horwood, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento, said today that a date has not yet been set for the defendants’ initial court appearances.

Poursartip is the president and Shirazi is an employee of Infotek Associates Inc., the indictment said.

The indictment alleges that Poursartip and Shirazi gave Gregory bribes of money, a Persian rug and a cell phone in exchange for being awarded Caltrans contracts.

The three defendants are also accused of circumventing the competitive bidding process by arranging to have phony bids submitted by other companies.

Lawyers for Poursartip and Shirazi were not available for comment today.

If the defendants are convicted, the mail fraud counts carry maximum sentences of up to 20 years in prison, the bribery counts 10 years, and the conspiracy count five years. A judge would consider federal sentencing guidelines before determining a penalty, however.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!