Second Government Contracting Executive Pleads Guilty to Bribery Conspiracy Involving PBGC Contracts
A second executive from a federal contracting firm pleaded guilty to a bribery conspiracy involving his business partner and a senior contracting official with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger of the Eastern District of Virginia, Acting Inspector General Nicholas J. Novak of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), and Assistant Director in Charge Timothy R. Slater of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
James N. Girardi, 39, of Reston, Virginia, the chief operating officer of a government contracting firm, pleaded guilty to one-count of conspiracy to bribe a public official before U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia. Previously, on May 4, 2020, Jeffrey B. Donahue, the PBGC’s former Director of Procurement, and Nadeem Ansari, the president and chief executive officer of Girardi’s firm, pleaded guilty to similar offenses. Sentencing for Donahue and Ansari is scheduled for Sept. 11, 2020; sentencing for Girardi is scheduled for Jan. 6, 2021.
According to court documents, Donahue served as a supervisory contract administrator with PBGC and then as director of the Procurement Department from March 2014 to February 2020. From at least 2015 through August 2017, Donahue solicited and received cash payments and other things of value, including the promise of a job valued at $1 million, from Ansari and with Girardi’s knowledge and agreement. In exchange, Donahue agreed to steer PBGC contracts to Ansari and Girardi’s company.
In 2015, Donahue approached Ansari and offered to help Ansari and Girardi’s new company win a PBGC contract, worth approximately $55 million, in exchange for a future job with the company. Among other things, Donahue provided Ansari with sample bid proposals; helped draft, review, and edit the company’s bid proposal; and disclosed labor pricing estimates. When the company did not win the contract, Donahue helped Ansari draft the company’s bid protest. Girardi admitted he was aware of Ansari’s arrangement with Donahue.
In 2016, Donahue proposed a second arrangement with Ansari in which Donahue would receive up to $125,000 from Ansari and his company in exchange for steering a contract to Ansari and Girardi’s company. Girardi was also aware of this arrangement with Donahue. The PBGC awarded the contract to Ansari and Girardi’s company, which resulted in payments to the company totaling approximately $3.29 million. Donahue steered the contract by, among other things, providing sensitive, non-public information and work product to Ansari; providing guidance for contract pricing; and adjusting the terms of the contract to align with the qualifications of the company’s personnel. Donahue received at least $48,000 in cash, plus additional gifts. Donahue and Ansari also took steps to conceal the scheme and their communications with each other, including using separate, dedicated cellular telephones and e-mail accounts and communicating through encrypted software.
The PBGC Office of Inspector General and the FBI investigated the case. Trial Attorney Edward P. Sullivan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Grace L. Hill of the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.