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Contractor Bribes Government Official

Monday, July 22, 2013

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A New Jersey contractor has pleaded guilty to bribing a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official in order to obtain favorable contracts, according to the Justice Department.

Hitesh Desai, 42, of Jersey City, pleaded guilty June 28 to an information charging him with one count of bribing a federal public official by promising to make $5,000 in corrupt payments in exchange for listing two companies he was affiliated with on a list for lucrative projects.

VA East Orange Campus

Desai offered and promised to make a $5,000 payment to a supervisory general engineer who worked at the VA's East Orange, NJ, medical campus, in exchange for favorable contracts, according to prosecutors.

He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison or a $250,000 fine, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 2.

Desai’s attorney did not immediately respond Friday (July 19) to a request for comment on the case.

Promised Official $5K for Listing

Desai had worked on various construction projects for the VA, according to documents filed in the case and statements made in court.

In 2012, Desai became affiliated with two unidentified companies that were applying to be placed on a VA list known as the Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC).

Certain lucrative VA construction projects were only available to contractors who were placed on the MATOC list, the prosecutors said.

Between October 2012 and February 2013, Desai offered and promised to make a $5,000 payment to a supervisory general engineer who worked at the VA's East Orange, NJ, medical campus. Desai believed the engineer served on a committee that would determine which contractors were placed on the MATOC list, according to the U.S. attorney.

On Oct. 18, 2012, and Dec. 6, 2012, Desai made two cash payments of $1,000 each to the VA official in exchange for the official’s assistance in placing the businesses on the list, prosecutors said.

Fishman credited special agents of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Hughes, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford for the investigation in this case.


Tagged categories: Criminal acts; Ethics; Government; Government contracts; Health Care/Hospitals

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