Local executive faces charges
Published Feb. 8, 2011
By Sean Flynn
Daily News staff
Less than two years ago, Anjan Dutta-Gupta, 58, the founder, owner and president of Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow, hosted Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Jim Langevin and Patrick J. Kennedy, both D-R.I., at the company's offices in the Aquidneck Corporate Park in Middletown.
This week, Dutta-Gupta was arrested in Atlanta and charged with bribing a public official in connection with a kickback scheme involving about $10 million in Navy funding, according to U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha.
Criminal complaints and supporting affidavits unsealed in U.S. District Court in Providence this morning allege that Ralph Mariano, 52, of Arlington, Va., a civilian program manager and senior systems engineer with the Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command in Newport, participated in the kickback and bribery scheme with Dutta-Gupta. Both men are being charged under a federal bribery statute.
According to the affidavit, approximately $13.5 million in Navy funding was sent by Advanced Solutions to an unnamed subcontractor, mostly for work that was not performed. The subcontractor, over a period of years, allegedly kicked back a total of approximately $10 million to Mariano, Mariano's relatives and associates and to entities controlled by Dutta-Gupta.
U.S. Customs agents arrested Dutta-Gupta in Atlanta on Sunday as he returned from a trip to Chile and turned him over to the FBI. His firm has headquarters in Roswell, Ga.
Dutta-Gupta made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Atlanta on Monday. He was released on a $25,000 unsecured bond and ordered to surrender his passport. He is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Providence on Feb. 15.
Mariano surrendered to the U.S. Marshals Service in Providence on Monday and made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court that afternoon before Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond. Mariano was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond and ordered to surrender his passport.
Neronha was scheduled to hold a press conference in his Providence office this morning, along with: Edward Bradley, special agent-in-charge for Defense Criminal Investigative Services, Northeast Field Office; Kirk Greffen, acting special agent-in-charge of Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office, Newport; James Burrell, assistant special agent-in-charge of the FBI's Boston Field Office; and Phillip Hall, assistant special agent-in-charge of the Boston office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations.
"(Advanced Solutions) provides system engineering and technology support to the Navy," Neronha said in a statement released this morning. "At present, they hold over $120 million in Navy contracts.
"Mr. Mariano added funds to the contracts between ASFT and the Navy for work that was never done. Instead, those funds were used to enrich Mr. Mariano, Mr. Mariano's friends and relatives, and Mr. Dutta-Gupta, to the tune of approximately $10 million."
NAVSEA is the largest of the Navy's five system commands and accounts for nearly one-quarter of the Navy's entire budget. NAVSEA has responsibility for establishing and enforcing technical authority in combat system design and operation. It uses its technical expertise to ensure systems are engineered effectively and that they operate safely and reliably.
Mariano plays a role in funding for NAVSEA's technical program and directs contracting officers to issue task orders through modifications on existing contracts, Neronha said in the prepared statement. Mariano also is responsible for evaluating proposals during the solicitation and bidding process for new contracts. He has responsibility over Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity ("IDIQ") and Cost Plus Fixed Fee Adjustment ("CPFA") contracts. IDIQ contracts give government officials such as Mariano the flexibility to add funding to contracts when there is a legitimate need to obtain additional services from a contractor or subcontractor, Neronha said.
According to its website, Advanced Solutions is a technology services company that provides systems engineering, product assurance, program support, integrated logistics services and Autonomous Underwater Vehicle development to the Navy. The majority of ASFT's employees support NUWC contracts and are located at the firm's office at 184 John Clarke Road in Middletown.
Founded in 1992, the company acquired AMTECH, a Newport company, in 1996 and soon grew exponentially, winning a $24 million contract providing logistics engineering services to the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Middletown.
Prior to starting his own company, Dutta-Gupta served as chief financial officer and administrator of a software-programming company. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Calcutta and his MBA in economics and accounting from the Institute of Business Management in Karachi, Pakistan, according to the website.
"While there is no shortage of other crime to be mindful of, public corruption will always be a focus of this office," Neronha said in his prepared statement this morning. "The public has the right to know that those who work for them are doing so honestly. Taxpayer money must never be wasted, let alone stolen, as is alleged here. When we discover bribery schemes such as the one alleged here, we will do everything in our power to hold both the bribe payer and the person accepting the bribe accountable."
Assistant U.S. attorneys Andrew J. Reich and Lee H. Vilker are prosecuting the case. The investigation is ongoing and being conducted by a team of agents from the DCIS in Boston, Northeast Field Office, NCIS, the Northeast Field Office, the FBI's Providence office and the Rhode Island IRS-CID.
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