A federal grand jury in Providence today issued a 37-count indictment against one of the main suspects in the Navy kickback scheme, while also issuing charges against the suspect's father.
A release from U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha outlined multiple charges against 54-year-old Ralph Mariano, the South Arlington, VA, man who worked as a civil engineer with the Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Newport. Those charges include conspiracy, theft of government funds, extortion, and multiple counts of wire fraud and tax evasion. Mariano's father, 80-year-old Ralph Mariano Jr., of North Providence, was charged with multiple counts of tax evasion.
The indictment alleges that Mariano helped devise a scheme from 1996 through January 2011 in which Navy funds that had been paid to Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow (ASFT) were funneled back to Mariano in exchange for official acts taken by him. The indictment alleges that Mariano used his position in the Navy to assist ASFT by, among other things, requesting that millions of dollars be added to existing ASFT contracts, directing work to ASFT, and assisting ASFT in becoming a subcontractor on certain Navy contracts.
The indictment alleges Mariano devised the scheme with the help of Anjan Dutta-Gupta, 58, of Roswell, GA, founder and president of Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow (ASFT), which had offices in Middletown, RI, and Roswell, GA., and 57-year-old subcontractor Russell E. Spencer of Portsmouth.
Dutta-Gupta and Spencer previously pled guilty to their roles and are awaiting sentencing. Another co-conspirator, Patrick Nagle, 50, of Marietta, GA, a Senior Vice President and Director of Contracts for ASFT, who knowingly made payments on invoices even though he knew the work represented had not been performed, previously pled guilty and is also awaiting sentencing.
According to the release, methods of payment to Mariano evolved over time and included payments made directly to Mariano and payments made to Mariano through intermediaries.
The indictment states that in 1999, Mariano became acquainted with Spencer, who proceeded to form three different consulting companies. At the direction of Mariano, Spencer allegedly submitted millions of dollars worth of fraudulent invoices to ASFT and companies working with ASFT for work that had largely not been performed. According to the indictment, once Spencer received Navy funds from ASFT, he proceeded to make millions of dollars in payments at the direction of Mariano to various individuals and companies, including Mariano and Mariano Jr.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lee H. Vilker, Andrew J. Reich and Terrence P. Donnelly.
The matter was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and a team of agents from Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office; Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.