Former U.S. Army Employee Sentenced for Kickback Scheme to Steer U.S. Government Contracts
A former civilian employee of the U.S. Army’s Directorate of Public Works was sentenced today to two years in prison for a kickback scheme to steer government contracts for work at Camp Arifjan, a U.S. Army base in Kuwait.
Ephraim Garcia, 64, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to offer a kickback and to offering a kickback in the District of Columbia on July 21. According to court documents, Garcia admitted that he conspired with Gandhiraj Sankaralingam, aka Gandhi Raj, the former general manager and co-owner of Kuwait-based contracting company Gulf Link Venture Co. W.L.L. (Gulf Link), to steer government contracts to Gulf Link. In his position with the U.S. Army, Garcia was involved in the solicitation, award, and management of certain government contracts related to facilities support at Camp Arifjan.
In 2015, at an Olive Garden restaurant located in Mahboula, Kuwait, Garcia and Sankaralingam approached an employee of the prime contractor responsible for base support services. During that meeting, they offered to pay the prime-contractor employee in exchange for his assistance in steering subcontracts worth over $3 million to Gulf Link. Rather than agree to the scheme, the prime-contractor employee reported the kickback offer to authorities. On Aug. 19, 2020, Sankaralingam was charged in a superseding indictment with conspiracy to offer a kickback and with paying illegal gratuities to Garcia. Sankaralingam remains a fugitive.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Director Marion F. Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command Major Procurement Fraud Unit; and Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Paul Sternal of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) made the announcement.
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and DCIS are investigating the case.
Acting Assistant Chief Christopher Jackson and Trial Attorney Matthew Sullivan of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.
The charges in the indictment against Sankaralingam are merely allegations, and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.