The criminal sentencing against Cask Government Services former employee Liberty Gutierrez has been delayed until June 2022, per a joint motion presented to the court by both the US Dept. of Justice and Gutierrez’s counsel. The court approved the temporary stay.
The Joint Motion to Continue Sentencing was filed on December 3rd and included only a brief justification for the request, saying, “the parties believe that it is in the interests of justice to continue the sentencing as requested.” Originally, Gutierrez was to be sentenced this month.
Gutierrez faces 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and fraud. Cask, which is only referred to as “Contractor-1” in the filing, is accused of bribing government officials in order to obtain Federal contracts. Cask hired Gutierrez upon the prompting of former SPAWAR contracting officer James Soriano; in return, Soriano steered at least one government opportunity to Cask. Gutierrez then shared a portion of her illegal salary with Soriano, who hid some of the money in a “golf bag,” according to court filings. Cask later hired Soriano’s wife, as well.
Oxebridge broke the story that identified Cask as the contractor mentioned in the case.
The joint nature of the filing indicates that both the DoJ prosecution team and the defendant have something to gain by delaying Gutierrez’s sentencing. Sources report to Oxebridge that this is because DoJ is pursuing “bigger fish” than Gutierrez, and are targeting persons only identified as “Individuals” in the criminal filing.
It is thought that the targets are Cask senior executives, and that arrests are expected sometime before the June sentencing date. If such arrests are made, this would allow Gutierrez’s counsel to argue for lesser penalties and probation, rather than imprisonment.
Cask is owned by Elizabeth Guezalle, but sources tell Oxebridge its daily operations were managed by her husband, Mark Larsen. Oxebridge confirmed that Guezzale was involved in salary decisions related to Gutierrez.
Despite having been informed of the case, the CMMC-AB approved Cask as an official C3PAO. Part of that approval process required the CMMC-AB to conduct an ethics check on Cask. Sources reported the CMMC-AB merely asked Cask officials if the allegations in the case were true, and relied on Cask’s denial. The CMMC-AB did not take into account that Gutierrez pleaded guilty, nor did they do any additional risk assessment.
The result is that a company that is under criminal investigation for steering Federal contracts towards itself is now in a position to decide which other companies will achieve CMMC, and thus win Federal contracts. The incident reveals the structural flaws inherent in the CMMC scheme, which is rife with conflicts of interest.
At least one Cask employee, Stacy High-Brinkley, previously worked alongside CMMC-AB former Board Chair Ty Schieber at QinetiQ. Cask was later given front-line status to receive some of the first Provisional Assessor badges, and then received one of the first C3PAO accreditations. The move sparked allegations of cronyism trumping good stewardship by the AB.