Federal agents found $450,000 in cash in the home and safety deposit box of an Oregon prison official accused of taking bribes from companies that sell food for inmates’ meals and snacks, reports The Oregonian. Farhad “Fred” Monem, who earns $75,500 a year as the food service administrator for the Oregon Department of Corrections, was placed on leave after IRS and FBI agents searched his home and office Jan. 10. Court documents describe a four-year kickback scheme.
Monem, 48, was considered a whiz kid at the prison system, credited with saving the state millions of dollars with shrewd working of the commodities market. Prison officials praised Monem for reducing prison food costs from $2.88 to $2.30 daily, the nation’s third lowest. One food broker praised Monem’s business savvy in 2002. The broker is one of several food industry officials accused of taking part in a bribery scheme that included splashy Las Vegas casino meetings, a junket to a Chicago pro football game and creation of a shell company allegedly controlled by Monem’s wife.