The former president of a Fremont pharmaceutical company was sentenced Tuesday to 21 months in federal prison for his role in a bribery scheme.
Jim Barta, 71, who was convicted of conspiracy to to commit bribery, also was fined $125,000.
The sentence was handed down in Chicago by U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp Jr. Barta could have received five years in prison.
Barta founded Sav-Rx Inc., a national provider of managed-care prescription drug services.
He was one of three men convicted of bribing an undercover FBI agent representing a fictitious Los Angeles County hospital official. The FBI agent posed as a purchasing agent for the hospital system.
The bribe was paid in order to try to obtain a lucrative contract for Sav-Rx. Barta wrote a check to the FBI agent for $6,500 at an Omaha restaurant on June 22, 2012.
Tharp noted that Barta built a successful company yet “readily agreed to pay a bribe to get a contract.''
The judge referred to a recording played at Barta's trial in which the defendant said he expected to pay a bribe and doing so was “business as usual.”
“It is not business as usual to bribe public officials,” Tharp said, adding that this message “must be repeated to avoid the cynicism that overtook Mr. Barta.”
Tharp ordered Barta to begin serving his sentence in January, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois.
Also convicted in the scheme were Ambrosio Medrano, 59, a former Chicago alderman, and Gustavo Buenrostro, 50, of Arlington Heights, Ill., a former Sav-Rx employee. They will be sentenced in November.