Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Arrest in Caltrans Bribery Case

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of Alex Morales III, 54, an employee of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), on bribery charges. Morales allegedly received bribes in the form of money and a vehicle in return for ensuring that Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) contracts were awarded to the person or company providing the bribe.

“Accepting bribes in exchange for awarding public contracts is illegal and corrupt, and violates the public’s trust in government,” said Attorney General Harris. “My office will continue to hold this individual – and others like him – accountable for their crimes.”

Morales is an ADA Statewide Coordinator for Caltrans, a role which involves making Caltrans systems, including bridges and public walkways, ADA compliant. According to the felony complaint, he accepted numerous bribes totaling at least $100,000 over the course of approximately four years. The bribes were presented in monthly cash payments ranging from $1,800 to $12,000, and also through a bribe in the form of a new white Ford sports utility vehicle.

The arrest came after a 9 month-long investigation by the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation, Special Investigation Team. Special agents served 4 search warrants leading up to the arrests, including some at state office buildings. All agencies involved, including Caltrans, fully cooperated with the Attorney General’s investigation.

“We have a set of values that drive Caltrans and this behavior is not consistent with those values,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “If an employee goes outside of those values, they don’t have a place in this department.” 

A copy of the felony complaint is attached to the online version of this press release at oag.ca.gov/news.

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PDF icon Morales complaint.pdf9.7 MB