Judge orders suspect to stay out of casinos
Published March 15, 2011
By Sean Flynn/Daily News staff
PROVIDENCE - A U.S. District Court judge Monday prohibited the Navy civilian program manager charged with bribery in an alleged $13.5 million kickback scheme from visiting any more casinos while he remains free on bail.
Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond took the action during a court hearing after the U.S. attorney's office provided him with information that Ralph Mariano gambled at the Twin River video-slot parlor in Lincoln for 24 days, from early January to March 2, and had winnings of approximately $112,000. "If the defendant is ultimately required to make significant restitution to the government and he is patronizing gambling venues, there is a concern he is wasting assets," the judge said.
Mariano is restricted to travel within Rhode Island and between Rhode Island and his home in Washington, D.C., the judge said. He is prohibited from visiting any gambling venue anywhere; if he does, Almond said he will require Mariano to wear a GPS electronic monitoring bracelet. The court's pre-trial services division then could track his exact whereabouts, the judge said.
Mariano and Anjan Dutta-Gupta, president of the now-closed Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow in Middletown, allegedly set up a scam that resulted in Mariano receiving more than $4 million slated for government contracts. His relatives and associates received another $4 million, while about $2 million was funneled back to entities controlled by Dutta-Gupta, according to an affidavit U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha filed in U.S. District Court in Providence last month.
The money went to their personal use, the affidavit says. Where the remaining $3.5 million went is not explained in the affidavit, but the investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are expected, according to the U.S. attorney.
Mariano, 52, has not been seen in court since the criminal complaint and supporting affidavits against him were unsealed on Feb. 8. He is a stocky, heavyset man about 5feet-7-inches tall, bald on the top of his head, with closely shaved hair on the sides. He wore his glasses pushed up on his forehead, lowering them to his eyes when he wanted to read.
Mariano refused to answer questions from the media after his hearing, but his attorney thanked reporters for asking.
Mariano has been free on bail since posting a $50,000 unsecured bond in early February. He and his attorneys believed Mariano was obligated to secure the full value of bond with the equity in his Warwick condominium by March 7. That equity is $13,000 according to a recent appraisal, said attorney Paul R. Mastrocola of Boston, one of the two lawyers representing Mariano.
Mariano purchased the condominium at 400 Narragansett Parkway, West C-8, Warwick, for $82,000 on Dec. 7, 2001, according to the assessors' online database at www.visionappraisal. com. The current assessed value of the threeroom condominium with 782 square feet of living space is $138,100, according to the database.
Attorney Benjamin C. Caldwell of Providence, the other lawyer representing Mariano, filed a motion last week asking for a one-month extension on securing the full bond so an appraisal could be done on an additional property or properties "in order to satisfy the required value of the bond, $50,000."
Judge Almond said at the beginning of Monday's hearing that he reviewed an audiotape of his original instructions, and he required Mariano to file a lien on the property for its current equity, whatever it was.
"Given the current market ... I doubted there was $50,000 in equity in the condominium," the judge said.
Almond noted that Mariano reported "very little cash" to the court's pre-trial services division after his arrest. "If he is gambling large sums of money, what it the source of that cash?" the judge asked.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew J. Reich expressed the same concern in a court document filed in U.S. District Court last week. Reich told the judge Monday the U.S. attorney's office now knows where the cash came from through additional information provided by the Twin River casino. He did not provide further details.
Mary E. O'Rourke, the former senior president and director of strategic planning at ASFT, owns a condominium at 400 Narragansett Parkway, West C-9, adjacent to Mariano's, and also valued at $138,100. She purchased the condominium on Sept. 21, 2001, for $87,000.
O'Rourke is identified as "MO" in the affidavit filed in the Mariano-Duta-Gupta case. "MO, an attorney and current member of the Rhode Island Bar Association, is responsible for ASFT's public affairs and liaison activities," the affidavit says. "MO is a long-time girlfriend of Mariano."
The affidavit says "MO" owns P&C Strategies, LLC "purportedly a technology services consulting company." According to the Rhode Island secretary of state's corporate database, the location of the company is 400 Narragansett Parkway, Unit West C-9, and the registered agent is Mary E. O'Rourke. The company was formed on Oct. 17, 2005, according to the database.
In the U.S. attorney's affidavit, much of the detail of the scheme's operations is attributed to an unnamed cooperating witness who owns two companies, C&S Technology and S.I. Technologies Inc., both with addresses at 11 King Charles Drive, Portsmouth. The secretary of state's database identifies the owner of C&S Technologies as Russell E. Spencer of Portsmouth, but his name does not appear in the affidavit. It refers to the owner of the companies as "CW1." Each week, CW1 paid Mariano $4,750, which was deposited in a joint account held by Mariano and the cooperating witness; $3,250 to Mariano, deposited in his personal account; $7,000 to Mariano's father; $3,900 to P&C Strategies owned by MO; $3,500 to NDC, owned by Mariano's brother; and $6,500 to SIC, owned by Dutta-Gupta, according to the affidavit.
"In addition, CW1 pays $3,500 to Mariano every other week in the form of cash," the affidavit says. "CW1 also pays Mariano, Dutta-Gupta and others additional monies on top of the weekly amounts when instructed to do so by Mariano, Dutta-Gupta or PN," the affidavit says.
"PN" was the senior vice president, director of contracts for ASFT and was responsible for accounting, contract administration and human resources, the affidavit says.

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