Contracting

Army IT official sentenced in bribery scheme

fraud in digits 

A federal district judge sentenced a former civilian IT worker at Aberdeen Proving Ground to serve one year in federal prison and another in home confinement, as well as shell out $30,000 in penalties and $2.2 million in restitution for his role in a bribery scheme with a Virginia small business owner.

On Nov. 7, a federal judge in Baltimore meted out the sentence to Rainier Ramos, 50, of Bel Air, Md., for accepting $33,000 in lavish gifts, such as tickets to Washington Wizards basketball games, Washington Redskins football games, expensive meals, golf outings and gift cards, in exchange for influence over big Army contracts.

Ramos was a civilian information technology professional at the U.S. Army Public Health Command at APG, when he began accepting the bribes from Link Solutions Inc. CEO and founder Bhupesh Wadhawan, according to a Nov. 8 statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baltimore.

FCW's sibling publication Washington Technology reported on Oct.25 that Wadhawan pleaded guilty in June to his role in the plot. He was sentenced Oct. 11 by the same federal judge to a five-year term in federal prison and also ordered to pay $2.2 million in restitution. Wadhawan must to turn himself in by 2 p.m. on Jan. 11 to serve his time.

Wadhawan's bribes started coming in September 2009, according to the statement, in exchange for Ramos's favorable treatment of Wadhawan's potential business interests in a number of contracts with the U.S. Army Public Health Command.

In early 2010, Wadhawan expressed interest in a high-value IT contract that Ramos could influence, according to the Justice Department. The Agency Information Technology Services Support contract that caught Wadhawan's eye, it said, was held by CSC Corporation in the autumn of 2009 but ultimately re-competed as the MEDCOM contract. The contracting vehicle packed a potential value of more than $50 million over five years.

According to the statement, Wadhawan bribed Ramos in the spring and summer of 2010 to get the APG contract worker to award a series of smaller contracts, including one for 70 laptop computers, which would allow LSI to set a performance track record that would increase the likelihood of its selection for then-upcoming MEDCOM contract in 2011.

Ramos, according to the Justice Department, worked to give LSI all manner of advantages to get the contract, as well as ultimately becoming the leader of the selection board.

It said he handed to over to Wadhawan the previous winning proposal of MEDCOM's previous contractor that included sensitive pricing data and other proprietary information. He also helped write LSI's official Statement of Work for MEDCOM, it said.

Ramos also influenced APG's decision to make the MEDCOM contract restricted to a program for small businesses such as LSI. He introduced Wadhawan to potential teaming partners the two believed would increase the likelihood LSI would be awarded the huge contract.

In August 2011, according to the Justice Department, the solicitation for the MEDCOM contract was released and Ramos was selected as the chairman of the Source Selection Board. In early 2012, Ramos recommended that the contract be awarded to LSI, it said.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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