States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|July 15, 2011||
JEWETT CITY MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ACCEPTING
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that BARRY S. SZAFRAN, 49, of Jewett City, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to one count of illegally receiving a gratuity. The charge relates to SZAFRAN’s accepting kickbacks from a foreign supplier of fire safety systems to a military base in Kuwait in Iraq.
According to court documents and statements made in court, SZAFRAN was the civilian fire alarm manager at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, for a prime contractor for the U.S. Army on a government-owned, contractor-operated base. In this position, SZAFRAN had a leading role in maintaining an adequate supply of repair/replacement parts for fire safety systems for the facility. In pleading guilty, SZAFRAN admitted that, from April 2008 to April 2009, he repeatedly provided favorable treatment to a local parts vendor, which was a subcontractor for a larger supplier, in connection with certain contracts. During this time period, SZAFRAN received things of value from the local parts vendor, including a round-trip airplane ticket between Kuwait and Rhode Island, meals and scented candles.
On April 20, 2008, SZAFRAN sent an email to the vendor’s project manager instructing the manager to create and submit three quotations for batteries, including two falsified quotations on different companies’ letterheads, and instructed the project manager to make the vendor’s price quote to be the lowest. Also, on July 9, 2008, SZAFRAN recommended that the contractor accept the vendor’s bid for a separate quote for a fire alarm panel and reject the bids of two other companies.
The vendor then purchased a round-trip airplane flight for SZAFRAN. Because his flight was paid for by the vendor, SZAFRAN was able to obtain from his employer $2,169 in cash in lieu of travel expenses for which the contractor, in turn, received reimbursement from the U.S. Army.
Additional e-mails examined during the course of the investigation revealed that SZAFRAN also provided details of competitors’ bid and pricing information.
During his employment with the contractor, SZAFRAN also received several meals paid for by the vendor, as well as scented candles from an employee of the supplier. And, during the spring of 2009, SZAFRAN stole a box of smoke detectors from the contractor, valued at approximately $5000, and provided them to the vendor.
Judge Kravitz has scheduled sentencing for October 3, 2011, at which time SZAFRAN faces a maximum term of imprisonment of two years and a fine of up to $250,000.
This case is being investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the United States Army, Criminal Investigative Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser.
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