iStock illustration

A federal official who sold homes for a Duxbury brokerage will spend four months in prison and pay nearly $18,000 after pleading guilty in a public corruption case.

Hanover resident Kevin Richards, 52, pleaded guilty to one count of receiving an illegal gratuity as a public official and two counts of making false statements to a federal agency in March. He was sentenced last week.

Richards worked as the New England leasing director for a division of the federal General Services Administration, which is responsible for building, maintaining and managing most civilian federal government property according to the office of U.S. Attorney for Boston Rachel Rollins. He also worked as a real estate agent for a Duxbury real estate company starting in 2017. It was this side job that led him to run afoul of the law. Prosecutors did not identify the brokerage.

Prosecutors say he was allowed to have the side job provided that he disclosed it, and whether or not he received any compensation, in an annual financial disclosure report required by GSA’s ethics office. However, on his 2020 disclosure report, he claimed he no longer sold homes for the Duxbury brokerage and then lied about it to a GSA ethics officer despite filing a federal tax return where he reported a net loss of $14,592 working for the Duxbury company in that year.

He also helped the unidentified brokerage’s owner get a job working for him at the GSA in November 2019, prosecutors said, emailing the person about the job posting, substantively editing their resume and giving them confidential interview questions ahead of time, all without telling the GSA or disclosing that he was an agent at the person’s brokerage. Richards then picked the brokerage owner for the job over 65 other qualified applicants and successfully lobbied to get the broker a $102,517 salary instead of the normal $85,428.

Shortly after the brokerage owner started at the GSA and almost two years after Richards had last earned a commission from the company, Richards texted the brokerage owner, “If you need any help on your new listing let me know.” A few days later the brokerage owner advertised Richards as a listing agent for a $1.1 million property in Duxbury. Richards didn’t earn a commission on that listing but earned a $10,250 commission when a second property he listed for the brokerage in Marshfield sold, charging documents state. Charging documents offer no additional details about the Marshfield property, including address or price.

A memo from Richards’ lawyer to the judge in the case said that Richards has resigned his federal job and taken a position as a truck driver to make ends meet. Paul Hughes, spokesperson for the GSA’s New England region, said the Duxbury broker Richards hired no longer works for the GSA.

Real Estate Agent Sentenced in Corruption Case

by James Sanna time to read: 2 min