Outright Corruption Alleged by Justice Department

"In the autumn of 2005, a mutual friend introduced Pamela Banks to a burly ex-Marine named Gary Alexander, at the time a high-ranking official at the secretive SPAWAR military research facility in San Diego.

"Alexander had a simple proposition. He could get Banks hired as a subcontractor on government projects through his position at SPAWAR, and get her all the work she would want.

"In return, Alexander asked for one thing: a 30 percent cut of the revenue generated from the contracts.

"Banks agreed, according to federal court records. She set up a small company in her San Diego home dubbed Advanced Technical Solutions and over the next two years reeled in $325,000 in subcontracts for SPAWAR work."

That's the top of a story this week in the San Diego Union-Tribune. It's based on a recently unsealed Justice Department indictment of people who worked as senior officials in the Navy program and their alleged confederates in the contracting world.

The indictment describes a sordid kickback scheme -- a subversion of the public trust. Here's more from the story in the Union-Tribune.

"Investigators placed wiretaps on the phones of the Alexanders and others in the ring centered at SPAWAR and observed meetings where cash was handed over to Alexander, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Ciaffa said in court yesterday.

"Alexander, 49, was the head of SPAWAR's Air Surveillance and Reconnaissance branch, a position prosecutors said he used to steer work to contractors and subcontractors in exchange for cash and gifts.

"Also indicted were Louis Williams, 43, and his wife, Elizabeth Ramos, 42, who own a National City-based firm called Technical Logistics Corp. That company garnered about $4.8 million in government contracts between 1999 and 2008.

"Sinthia Nares, 43, also was indicted in the scheme and prosecutors say, is allegedly Alexander's mistress, for whom he secured lucrative jobs at various contracting firms.

"A sixth defendant, Jackie Godwin, was a manager at Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, a San Diego defense company that was a primary contractor with SPAWAR. He is alleged to have directed subcontracting work to the companies Banks, Ramos and Williams ran at Alexander's direction. Godwin is in custody in Georgia and is on his way to San Diego to face charges.

"Though it spanned years, investigators were alerted to the alleged scheme in late 2007 with an anonymous tip to a federal fraud hotline."

By Robert O'Harrow |  July 10, 2009; 12:12 PM ET fraud
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Obviously, someone at the I.G. office that we rely on to actually investigate all govt. agencies to see that this doesn't happen was either on the payroll or asleep at the switch. Maybe it's time to consider a periodic clean sweep of all Inspector General job classifications to make sure we don't have Govt employees on the payroll of illegal schemers like these people. Hw about every 7 years, all IG employees rotate to some other Govt job in another division? If contracts were subject to competitive bids, it would be harder to garner that "30% off the top'. That should have been the first red flag for the IG auditor.

Posted by: CVal | July 13, 2009 9:24 AM

Why is this surprising? The Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) give federal hiring officials carte blanche to hire anyone they want for federal civil service jobs, whether of not they have even the minimum qualifications. I have had four appeals before the MSPB, and all four have been decided through fraud, to which the judge was a party. The Department of the Interior was left free to hire senior scientists who had not even earned master's degrees to jobs normally requiring a PhD and many years of successful research. The only requirement was that the person was a trusted friend of someone involved in the hiring process.
When federal supervisors are permitted to disregard examination scores, veterans' preference, and even a complete lack of education and training by preselected applicants for civil service positions, why shouldn't they offer high paying jobs in return for bribes, sexual favors, or even a percentage of the salary. If anyone reports irregularities in the hiring process, they are fired and blacklisted as whistleblowers.
Our FBI, Justice Department, and courts are failing us by letting this go on. Where is some investigative journalism?

Posted by: cwheckman | July 13, 2009 2:18 PM

What do you expect with all the war profiteering going on the past 8 years. Remember Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" where he showed a war contractor trade show? Every other war had a law against war profiteering. We wouldn't have a deficit if Halliburton didn't use offshore tax havens.

Posted by: JohnnyE1 | July 16, 2009 1:34 AM

God help the United States of America if this insane corruption taking place at the higher levels of Gov't & Military contractors filters down to the lower ranks. I wouldn't be a bit surprise if it taking place right now.
JMA Tampa

Posted by: tropedoabad | July 16, 2009 10:26 AM

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