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Naval kickbacks: Indian-American pleads guilty

April 29, 2011 09:20 IST

An Indian-American navy contractor has pleaded guilty to his role in a $10 million kickback and bribery scam and could face up to 15 years in prison.

Anjan Dutta-Gupta, 58, founder and president of Rhode Island-based technology services company Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow (ASFT) pleaded guilty to paying bribes to a civilian programme manager and senior systems engineer with the United States Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).

Dutta-Gupta bribed the public official in a kickback scheme, netting more than nine million dollars of naval funds, to ensure payment and additional funding to existing Naval contracts and work orders for work purportedly to be performed at ASFT.

Arrested on February 8 this year, Dutta-Gupta is scheduled to be sentenced by US District Court Chief Judge Mary Lisi on December 9, 2011.

He faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or three times the value of the bribe payments, US Attorney Peter Neronha said.

According to court documents, ASFT paid at least $8,000,000 between 1996-2011 mainly through its subcontractors to co-defendant Ralph Mariano, who was a civilian programme manager and senior systems engineer with NAVSEA, as well as to Mariano's family members and to a senior vice president at ASFT.

In addition, at least $1,200,000 was paid to subcontractors based on inflated invoices and funneled back to SIC, a corporation owned by Dutta-Gupta.

In exchange for Dutta-Gupta and ASFT's kickbacks of millions of dollars from 1996 through 2011, Mariano took steps to ensure that ASFT received payment on invoices submitted, and that additional funds were added to existing ASFT contracts when needed.

In his position as programme manager, Mariano regularly instructed Navy contracting officers to add funding to ASFT contracts and delivery orders.

Further, Mariano completed numerous Funding Certification forms when he added funds to the ASFT contracts.

Through these and other mechanisms, Mariano was able to utilise his position as a programme manager with the NAVSEA to add millions of dollars to existing ASFT contracts.

In exchange, Dutta-Gupta agreed to make regular payments to Mariano.

Mariano, 52, charged in a criminal complaint with participating in the kickback scheme, is awaiting trial.

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