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FORMER LAWTON HOTEL MANAGER SENTENCED TO SERVE 18 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR $103,000 BRIBERY SCHEME WITH FORMER ARMY TRAINING CENTER MANAGER


Former Army Manager also sentenced to federal prison for accepting bribes to favor hotel

OKLAHOMA CITY – This month, ALFRED PALMA, 65, of Duncan, and CANDY HANZA, 51, of Medicine Park, were each sentenced to serve time in federal prison for bribery, announced U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.

On May 3, 2023, a federal grand jury returned a twelve-count Indictment against Palma and Hanza. According to the Indictment, Palma, a United States Army employee and public official, was the manager of the Institutional Training Directed Lodging and Meals (ITDLM) program at Fort Sill, through which he booked hotel rooms for soldiers who attended off-post trainings. Hanza worked as the general manager of a local hotel in Lawton. The Indictment alleges that Hanza paid Palma bribes to direct soldiers to Hanza’s hotel.

In July 2023, Palma and Hanza pleaded guilty to the bribery scheme. Palma pleaded guilty to receiving bribes totaling $103,200.00 from Hanza in return for favoring the hotel at which Hanza worked as general manager. Palma further admitted that he used the cash bribes to purchase money orders from Walmart, which he later deposited into his personal checking account, along with the checks that Hanza gave him. Hanza pleaded guilty to paying a bribe to Palma as a public official.

At a sentencing hearing on January 19, 2024, U.S. District Judge Patrick R. Wyrick sentenced Hanza to serve 18 months in federal prison.

At a sentencing hearing on January 25, 2024, Judge Wyrick sentenced Palma to serve 29 days in federal prison, followed by eleven months in home confinement. In announcing Palma’s sentence, Judge Wyrick emphasized the importance of general deterrence in public corruption cases, noting that when people in positions of public trust accept bribes then there is a cost to the government and to society.

A restitution hearing for both defendants will be held at a later date.

This case is the result of an investigation by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Division, the Department of Defense Contract Audit Agency, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia E. Barry is prosecuting the case.

Reference is made to public filings for additional information.