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Dutta-Gupta pleads guilty
Published April 29, 2011
By Sean Flynn/Daily News staff
Anjan Dutta-Gupta, a native of India who emigrated to the U.S. and founded a multi-million-dollar technology services company, stood in U.S. District Court in Providence on Thursday and pleaded guilty to a charge of bribing a public official in a kickback scheme that bilked the Navy of more than $9 million.
Dutta-Gupta, 58, of Roswell, Ga., president of the now-closed Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow in Middletown, confirmed that he paid the bribes to Ralph Mariano, 52, of Arlington, Va., a civilian program manager and senior systems engineer with the Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command, to ensure payment and additional funding to Dutta-Gupta's defense firm for naval contracts.
Mariano, also charged with bribery, has pleaded innocent to the charge and is free on bail.
Dutta-Gupta agreed to plead guilty and to cooperate in the federal investigation in the hope of receiving a reduced prison sentence. If the U.S. Attorney's office determines he "has provided substantial assistance to the government in the investigation of or prosecution of another person" the government will file a motion "asking the court to impose a sentence below the guideline sentencing range," according to the plea agreement he signed.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi said she would review Dutta-Gupta's level of cooperation as outlined in pre-sentence reports to be filed by the U.S. Attorney's office and his defense attorneys before she sentences him on Dec. 9.
"I have to determine you have provided substantial information," the judge told Dutta-Gupta.
He faces up to 15 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000 or three times the value of the bribe payments, whichever is greater, according to a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. Dutta-Gupta will remain free on bail until his sentencing.
During an hour-long hearing, Lisi explained the rights he was giving up and said there would be "absolutely no guarantee" on what sentence she imposes. She is not obligated to follow any of the recommendations that will be made in the coming months, Lisi said, and Dutta-Gupta will have no right to appeal his sentence.
He kept his head bowed during the proceeding, wearing headphones so he could hear the judge's instructions. He agreed to testify "completely and truthfully in all legal proceedings" to be brought against Mariano and possibly others, according to the signed court document. He promised to meet with government representatives "as often as necessary."
During the hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee H. Vilker read a "statement of facts" agreed to by Dutta-Gupta:
From 1996 through January this year, at least $8 million was paid by ASFT - largely through subcontracting firms owned by Russell E. Spencer or his wife, Debra K. Spencer, of Portsmouth - to Mariano, his family members and his longtime girlfriend, Mary O'Rourke, who was a senior vice president and director of strategic planning at ASFT. In addition, at least $1.2 million was funneled back to SIC, a corporation Dutta-Gupta owned.
In exchange for Dutta-Gupta's and ASFT's kickbacks of millions of dollars, Mariano took steps to ensure that ASFT received payment on invoices submitted, and that additional funds were added to existing ASFT contracts when needed. In his position as program manager, Mariano regularly instructed Navy contracting officers to add funding to ASFT contracts and delivery orders.
Mariano also demanded that certain ASFT employees be fired and that certain friends and associates of his be hired, according to the statement of facts.
"Dutta-Gupta, due to both concern or possible reprisal from Mariano and a desire to continue to have funding added to the ASFT/Navy contracts, submitted to Mariano's demands," the court document says.
The subcontracting firms owned by the Spencers submitted inflated invoices to ASFT "for work that largely had not been performed," the court document says. Dutta-Gupta and ASFT then paid them the amount billed.
"The subcontractor would proceed to keep a portion of the inflated payment for itself and distribute the remainder to Mariano and/or family members of Mariano," the document says.
Russell Spencer was making the following approximate weekly payments in 2010 from his personal account or the accounts of his subcontracting firms - C&S and S.I. Technology -according to the document:
u $4,750 to Mariano, deposited in a joint account the two men held;
u $3,500 to Mariano every other week in the form of cash;
u $7,000 to Mariano's father, Ralph Mariano Jr., 79, of North Providence;
u $3,900 to P&C Strategies Inc., owned by girlfriend Mary O'Rourke. She and Mariano own adjacent condominiums at 400 Narragansett Parkway, Warwick;
u $3,500 to NDC Consulting Inc., owned by Joseph Mariano, Mariano's brother. (Delaine A. Mariano and Joseph James Mariano of North Scituate are listed as president and vice president of the firm with the Rhode Island Secretary of State's office.) Joseph Mariano was employed by Inquest Technologies Inc. of Providence, which also served as a subcontractor to ASFT.
u $6,500 to SIC, owned by Dutta-Gupta.

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