Article dated March 13, 2009:
“The White House said this morning that President Obama’s chief information officer has been placed on leave out of “an abundance of caution,” even though federal authorities say the staffer is not being investigated in connection with an alleged bribery scam at the D.C. government office he headed until early this month.”
“Vivek Kundra, who was tapped as the White House technology czar March 5, oversaw technology projects and budgets for 86 D.C. government agencies as head of the District’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer.
Yesterday, a mid-level manager in that office was arrested, along with a business executive, on bribery charges involving city contracts that included “ghost” workers and kickbacks, federal authorities said.
Yusuf Acar, 40, who has worked in the technology office since 2004, was charged with bribery, conspiracy, money laundering and conflict of interest. Sushil Bansal, 41, president and chief executive of the contracting firm Advanced Integrated Technologies Corp. (AITC), was charged with bribery and money laundering. Federal agents said Bansal’s company received more than $13 million in revenue from the D.C. government in the past five years.
FBI agents carted away boxes and envelopes from the Office of the Chief Technology Officer throughout the day.
In court documents, FBI agent Andrew Sekela laid out the complicated and audacious schemes allegedly orchestrated by Acar, a mid-level manager who approved many contracts involving the city government’s technology needs. “
“Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Hibarger told a federal judge that Acar, of Northwest Washington, is a flight risk because agents seized $70,000 in cash in his house and because in recorded conversations, he boasted that he could easily flee to his native Turkey. Acar also told the informant that he could use computers to create fake D.C. birth certificates, Hibarger said. “
“The scam began unraveling in March last year when Acar recruited an unidentified D.C. government employee, an Army veteran who has a master’s degree in electrical engineering, FBI agents wrote.
Over drinks one Friday after work, Acar told the employee about the bribery and kickback operation and how it worked, Sekela wrote. The informant approached the FBI and began wearing a hidden recording device and secretly recording phone conversations involving Acar and Bansal. “