Co-defendants waive rights to jury trial

By Sean Flynn/Staff writer
Published Feb. 26, 2013
Three key players in an alleged kickback scheme that federal prosecutors say cost the Navy at least $10 million do not want a trial by jury, according to paperwork filed by their attorneys in U.S. District Court in Providence earlier this month.
Chief U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi has scheduled a hearing Friday at noon on the motion by Ralph Mariano, 56, his girlfriend, Mary O’Rourke, 49, and his father, Ralph Mariano Jr., 81, to waive their rights to a jury trial. The three, who have pleaded innocent to all charges, wish for a judge to decide the case.
Robert Clark Corrente, who served as U.S. attorney in Providence from May 2004 to June 2009, represents Ralph Mariano. Corrente is now with the private law firm of Burns & Levinson in Providence.
He filed a motion on Monday seeking 15 subpoenas to obtain detailed information about three people who are expected to be key government witnesses in the trial:
Anjan Dutta-Gupta, 59, founder and president of Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow, which had offices in Middletown and Georgia. He pleaded guilty in April 2011 to a charge that he paid Mariano bribes to ensure payment and additional funding for Navy contracts and work orders purportedly to be performed at ASFT. The company, which had nearly 100 employees working in its Middletown office and $120 million in Navy contracts, abruptly closed shortly after Dutta-Gupta’s arrest in February 2011.
Russell Spencer, 58, who grew up in Newport, played varsity sports at Rogers High School and now lives in Portsmouth. Federal prosecutors say he set up three Portsmouth subcontracting companies — ADQ Associates Inc., C&S Technology Inc. and S.I. Technology Inc. — to receive fraudulent payments from ASFT. Spencer pleaded guilty on June 17, 2011, to a charge of conspiring to commit bribery. He pleaded guilty on April 19, 2012, to a charge of lying to the FBI about a relationship he had with Mariano’s housekeeper in Virginia. Spencer, who is married, gave the woman cash and gifts funded by Navy money, the prosecution said.
Gary Scavoni, an employee of ASFT. In the new motion, Corrente says ASFT “grossly inflated the wages paid” to Scavoni, “who in turn used that money to make regular large cash payments to Mariano.” Scavoni has not been charged and has not been featured in public court documents to date, but his name appears often in the 60 pages of documents Corrente filed on Monday.
The requested subpoenas seek details of the evidence against Mariano, a former engineer with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Middletown. In a 1957 case, Jencks vs. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a defendant must have access to government witnesses who testify against him in a criminal trial, and must also have access to any documents pertaining to that testimony.
“The government has alleged that Mariano masterminded and orchestrated a sprawling bribery and extortion scheme within the Naval defense contracting industry in and around Newport,” Corrente wrote. “The indictment alleges Mariano devised and implemented a number of schemes and devices to cause a government contractor, Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow, to pay millions of dollars to him, his girlfriend and his family members.”
More specifically, Mariano allegedly “directed ASFT to pay millions of dollars” to Spencer’s companies “for little or no work. The Spencer companies in turn allegedly paid millions of dollars” to Mariano, his father and his girlfriend, Corrente wrote.
The subpoenas seek information on what work, if any, Spencer and Scavoni did in exchange for the payments, and “the flow of funds from ASFT to Scavoni and Spencer, and how Scavoni and Spencer spent those funds.”
Although the government already has provided substantial information, “there are many important gaps in the data that need to be filled in,” Corrente wrote.
The list of information Corrente seeks through the subpoenas is extensive, but includes:
Tax returns for Russell and Debra Spencer and the three companies they created from 1999 through 2011.
BankNewport records for a named account held by the Spencers from April 2005 through December 2009.
Citizens Bank and People’s Credit Union records for two of the Spencer companies, C&S and ADQ.
Wire transfers and cashier checks relating to Spencer’s purchase of a home in Fort Myers, Fla.
Scavoni’s tax returns from 1996 to 2011, as well as bank records of his accounts at the Navy Federal Credit Union on Naval Station Newport and at Citizens First Bank at The Villages, Florida, from 2003 through 2011.
Scavoni and a relative purchased separate residences at The Villages in 2003. A subpoena seeks “copies of the documents relating to the purchase and financing of those residences.”
American Southern Bank records from 2005 through 2009, and Sun Trust Bank records in 2010-2011 for all accounts held by Strategic International Concepts, a company formed by Dutta-Gupta.
Corrente writes that Spencer’s companies ADQ and C&S were subcontractors to Inquest Technologies of Providence from 2002 to 2005. The director of business development for that company was Joseph Mariano, according to information online. He is the brother of Ralph Mariano. According to earlier court documents, Spencer allegedly was paying $3,500 weekly to NDC Consulting Inc., a firm owned by Joseph Mariano.
One subpoena seeks all contract documents and purchase order agreements “between Inquest and ADQ and/or C&S.”
Corrente claims in the motion that the subpoenas are “not a fishing expedition. The subpoenas have been as carefully tailored as possible to avoid overbreadth, targeting specific numbered accounts wherever possible, and being limited to the time periods set forth in the relevant portions of the indictment.”
Judge Lisi has consolidated the cases against Mariano, Mariano Jr. and O’Rourke so there will be one trial.
Attorney Kevin J. Fitzgerald of the Federal Defenders Office in Providence is representing Mariano Jr., while attorney William P. Devereaux of Providence is representing O’Rourke.
In a Feb. 5 order, Lisi gave the defense attorneys and the federal prosecutors until March 22 to file pretrial motions. The order says they have until May 6 to file a “pretrial memorandum” with analysis of applicable law, a description of matters that should be considered by the court prior to trial, and “an estimate regarding the number of days required” by each attorney to present his case.

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