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By PBN Staff
PROVIDENCE – A civilian program manager and the founder of a technology services company have been charged with bribery of a public official in connection with an alleged $10 million kickback scheme involving U.S. Navy funds.
Ralph Mariano, 52, of Arlington, Va., a civilian program manager and senior systems engineer with the United States Naval Sea Systems Command in Newport and Washington, D.C., and Anjan Dutta-Gupta, 58, founder and president of Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow with offices in Middletown and Roswell, Ga., were cited in criminal complaints unsealed in U.S. District Court in Providence.
The charges say Dutta-Gupta funneled approximately $10 million to Mariano, as well as Mariano’s relatives and associates, in return for the engineer’s role in the funding of Navy contracts to ASFT.
“The criminal complaint unsealed today details troubling allegations of public corruption impacting the integrity of the U.S. Department of Defense’s contracting process,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Ed Bradley, DCIS, Northeast Field Office.
“A Navy employee and a DoD contractor conspired to corrupt the DoD’s procurement system and personally profit from their scheme,” he said.
According to an affidavit, about $13.5 million in funding from the Navy was sent by ASFT to a subcontractor, mostly for work that was not preformed, U.S. Attorney General Peter F. Neronha said on Tuesday. The subcontractor kicked back about $10.0 million to Mariano, his relatives and associates, and entities controlled by Dutta-Gupta.
“A $10 million heist is a major crime, whether the money is taken with a gun or with a keyboard. Fraud victimizes every taxpayer. It wastes billions of tax dollars and erodes public confidence. Citizens have the right to expect their public employees to be people of integrity, not self-serving criminals,” said Kirk Greffen, acting special agent in charge, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office.
Dutta-Gupta, arrested Sunday in Atlanta after returning to the country from Chile, was ordered to appear before a Magistrate Judge in U.S. District in Providence on Feb. 15. He made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Atlanta on Monday and was released on $25,000 unsecured bond.
Mariano surrendered to the U.S. Marshals Service in Rhode Island on Monday and made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence Monday afternoon. He was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond.