Founder and President of Rhode Island and Georgia-Based Technology Firm to Plead Guilty in Multi-Million-Dollar Naval Kickback Scheme

PROVIDENCE, RI—The founder and president of a technology services company with offices in Rhode Island and Georgia has agreed to plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence to bribery of a public official in connection with an alleged kickback scheme of more than $9 million of naval funds.

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha today announced that Anjan Dutta-Gupta, 58, of Roswell, GA, founder and president of Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow (ASFT), with offices in Middletown, Rhode Island and Roswell, Georgia, has agreed to plead guilty to paying bribes to a civilian program manager and senior systems engineer with the United States Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) who maintained offices in Newport, R.I. and Washington, D.C., and to others, to ensure payment and additional funding to existing Naval contracts and work orders for work purportedly to be performed at ASFT.

According to an information and a statement of facts attached to the plea agreement signed by the defendant and filed with the U.S. District Court in Providence on Monday, from about 1996 through January 2011, at least $8,000,000 was paid by ASFT (largely through its subcontractors) to a co-defendant in this case, Ralph Mariano, 52, of Arlington, VA, a civilian program manager and senior systems engineer with NAVSEA, to Mariano’s family members and to a senior vice president, director of strategic planning, at ASFT. In addition, at least $1,200,000 paid to subcontractors based on inflated invoices was funneled back to SIC, a corporation owned by Dutta-Gupta.

According to court documents, in exchange for Dutta-Gupta and ASFT’s kickbacks of millions of dollars from 1996 through 2011, 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.

In addition, according to court documents, Mariano completed numerous Funding Certification forms when he added funds to the ASFT contracts. Through these and other mechanisms, Mariano was able to utilize his position as a program manager with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center to add millions of dollars to existing ASFT contracts. In exchange, defendant Dutta-Gupta agreed to make regular payments to Mariano.

Dutta-Gupta was arrested on February 8, 2011, by U.S. Customs agents in Atlanta as he entered the country on a return trip from Chile. Dutta-Gupta was released on $25,000 unsecured bond following appearances in U.S. District Courts in Atlanta and Providence.

Ralph Mariano, charged in a criminal complaint in February 2011 with participating in the alleged kickback scheme, is awaiting trial and remains free on $50,000 unsecured bond.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lee H. Vilker and Andrew J. Reich.

This matter is an ongoing, joint investigation being conducted by agents from the Defense Criminal Services; Naval Criminal Investigative Service; Federal Bureau of Investigation; and, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations.