Court dates put off
Published Dec. 9, 2011
By Joe Baker/Daily News staff
Today was the day the first shoe was to drop in a multi-million-dollar kickback scheme involving Navy contracts. But Anjan Dutta-Gupta, owner of the Middletown defense company at the heart of the scandal, will have to wait until June for his day in court.
Dutta-Gupta, founder of the now-closed Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow, pleaded guilty in April to bribery and was scheduled to be sentenced today. But U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi rescheduled the sentencing to June 21 to give the government time to build its case against Dutta-Gupta's alleged co-conspirator, Ralph A. Mariano, a civilian program manager and senior systems engineer with Naval Sea Systems Command who prosecutors say was the mastermind behind the scheme.
Lisi also postponed the Dec. 16 sentencing of Portsmouth resident Russell E. Spencer, who pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit bribery, to June 21. Spencer has admitted he set up consulting firms that billed the Navy through Mariano for work never performed and funneled that money back to Mariano and Dutta-Gupta.
The third defendant in the case, Patrick B. Nagle, pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to commit bribery and is scheduled to be sentenced March 1.
All three men have agreed to testify against Mariano, who has pleaded not guilty to bribery and is free on bail.
Prosecutors estimate the scheme, which lasted more than 10 years, netted participants at least $13.5 million. The scandal, which came to light with Dutta-Gupta and Mariano's arrests in February, sent ripples through the local defense industry.
In the government's plea bargains with the three co-defendants, sentencing was contingent upon their cooperation in the investigation into Mariano.
In fact, in a motion filed with the government's request for a delay in Spencer's sentencing, prosecutors said they wanted to ensure he cooperated with the ongoing investigation before he was sentenced.
"Given the ongoing status of the related criminal matters and that these proceedings will not be concluded by Dec. 16, 2011, the United States respectfully requests a 180 day extension of the defendants' sentencing date," the motion read.
Spencer already has forfeited a total of $337,930 he held in two bank accounts tied to two of his businesses involved in the kickback scheme. One account listed in the name of C&S Technology Inc. held $309,814 and the second, in the name of S.I. Technologies, held $28,116.
According to government investigators, Mariano initiated the scheme in 1999 when he approached Dutta-Gupta with an ultimatum: participate in the scam or lose government contracts. Mariano allegedly told Dutta-Gupta that if he agreed to participate, Mariano could funnel even more business to Dutta-Gupta's company. Mariano persuaded Spencer to set up the consulting firms, which would overbill or fabricate billings to the Navy on existing contracts. Nagle, who worked for Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow, was charged with making payments on inflated or fabricated invoices.
Jim Martin, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Peter Nernoha, said he had no estimate on when the government might conclude its investigation into Mariano.

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