Owners and managers of four Oklahoma erosion control contractors pleaded guilty in a bid-rigging and price-fixing conspiracy that prosecutors say targeted more than $100 million in publicly funded contracts.

Stanley Mark Smith, the owner of a company operating out of Claremore and Catoosa, Okla., pleaded guilty on Feb. 27, according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice. His plea followed similar moves last fall by Roy Henry Heinrich, the former owner and officer of a contractor based in El Reno, Okla.; Ryan Ashley Sullivan, an owner and executive at a Lawton, Okla.-based company; and James Travis Feazel, a former operations manager at a company in Weatherford, Okla. 

Prosecutors say the four started conspiring in 2017, agreeing to raise prices for contract line items such as solid slab sodding and to divvy up contracts across Oklahoma by submitting intentionally high bids or declining to bid for certain projects. 

Sullivan was part of the conspiracy until at least April 2019, Heinrich was part of it until at least July 2021, according to the Justice Dept. Smith and Feazel continued conspiring until last April. Feazel’s company targeted more than $50 million in contracts, while Smith’s targeted $42 million worth of contracts and Heinrich’s targeted $7 million in contracts. Prosecutors did not specify the price of contracts sought by Sullivan’s company under the conspiracy. 

Court records did not specify the defendants’ companies, nor any specific projects they worked on. An attorney representing Sullivan declined to comment. Attorneys representing the other defendants did not immediately respond to inquiries.

The conspiracy targeted publicly funded transportation infrastructure projects, according to prosecutors. Many of them were federally funded by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation. 

The Dept. of Transportation Office of Inspector General and FBI Oklahoma City field office investigated the case. Joseph Harris, special agent in charge of DOT-OIG’s southern region, said in a statement that they would continue to work with law enforcement to restore equity to the bidding process. 

A federal judge will sentence the four defendants. Each faces a sentence of as long as 10 years in prison and criminal fines as high as $1 million, or twice the gain from the crime.