Indian-American IT contractor gets jail in bribery scandal
The Indian American chief executive of a Washington-based IT contracting firm has been sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to repay $844,000 for his part in a bribery and kickback scheme.world Updated: Aug 10, 2010 19:59 IST
The Indian American chief executive of a Washington-based IT contracting firm has been sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to repay $844,000 for his part in a bribery and kickback scheme.
Sushil Bansal, 42, president and CEO of Advanced Integrated Technologies and Innovative IT Solutions, will also serve a three-year period of supervised release after undergoing two concurrent 20-month prison terms at a minimum-security federal facility in Pennsylvania.
Sentencing Bansal last Friday, US District Judge Henry H. Kennedy said: "It is sad for you and for your family. It is also sad for all of your employees and the District of Columbia, and here I speak for the citizens of the District of Columbia."
"I am sorry to be standing here," Bansal said, apologising for what he called "such disgraceful acts" and pleading for leniency on behalf of his wife and 7- and 11-year-old daughters.
Bansal, at the centre of the scandal that rocked the city's technology office last year, had pleaded guilty in April to one count each of bribery and money laundering.
Two senior officials, Yusuf Acar, then acting head security officer for the DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer, and a colleague, Farrukh Awan, have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing next week.
Bansal, a former city employee and Howard University graduate, admitted paying $706,000 in bribes and pocketing another $180,000 in a scheme in which Acar shared confidential government contracting information.
Both men overcharged city taxpayers for "ghost workers" or more products and costlier services than were actually delivered, according to court documents. The scheme lasted from September 2005 to March 2009.
Attorneys for Bansal had argued for reducing the restitution. They claimed that Bansal was extorted by Acar and that the city failed to pay him $900,000 for legitimate work provided by his companies.
Assistant US Attorney Thomas J. Hibarger countered, citing the example of an unnamed city government official who, instead of going along with the scheme, became a cooperating witness after being approached by Acar.
In the wake of the scandal, Washington city administration last year placed four employees on administrative leave, fired 23 consultants from firms linked to the scam and initiated audits.