Army worker jailed for $3m procurement kickback scheme

15 November 2021

A former civilian employee of the US Army’s Directorate of Public Works has been jailed for two years after participating in a kickback scheme.

Ephraim Garcia, 64, admitted conspiracy to offer a bribe and offering a bribe under a scheme to steer government contracts for work at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait to a favoured contractor.

Garcia’s role meant he was involved in the solicitation, award, and management of certain government contracts related to facilities support at Camp Arifjan.

He had conspired with Gandhiraj Sankaralingam, also known as Gandhi Raj, who was former general manager and co-owner of Kuwait-based contracting company Gulf Link, to ensure government contracts went to Gulf Link.

The plan failed when at a restaurant meeting in Kuwait, Garcia and Sankaralingam tried to bribe an employee of the prime contractor responsible for base support services to help steer subcontracts worth over $3m to Gulf Link.

Instead of agreeing to the scheme, the prime-contractor employee contacted military authorities about the approach.

In August 2020 Sankaralingam was charged with alleged conspiracy to offer a kickback and with paying illegal gratuities to Garcia but has remained a fugitive.

In October the CEO of Multinational Logistics Services (MLS), a ship husbanding company that has received over $1bn in U.S. Navy contracts since 2010 for services such as refuelling and provisioning, was charged with allegedly participating in a bribery scheme.

Frank Rafaraci, 68, is accused of inflating invoices to the US Navy and laundering the proceeds of the scheme through shell companies in the UAE.

“Frank Rafaraci allegedly defrauded the Navy, bribed a Navy official, and laundered money through foreign bank accounts for years,” said assistant attorney general Kenneth A Polite Jr of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Criminal Division remains committed to combating fraud and corruption in defense contracting around the world.”

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