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Press Release

Defense Contractor And Civilian Employee At U.S. Military Base Admit Bribery Scheme Involving Government Contracts

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – Two Sussex County, New Jersey, women, one a defense contractor employee and the other a civilian employee at Picatinny Arsenal, today admitted their roles in a scheme that traded bribes and other gratuities for favorable treatment on government contracts, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Irene Pombo, 68, of Hamburg, New Jersey, and her daughter, Nicole Pier, 38, of Byram Township, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Vazquez in Newark federal court to separate informations charging them with conspiracy to give or accept anything of value in return for favorable assistance with government contracts and with making false claims against the United States.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Pombo was an employee of an entity referred to in the information as “Company A,” a defense contracting firm that works with the Department of Defense at Picatinny Arsenal, a U.S. Army installation in Morris County, New Jersey. Pier was a civilian employee at Picatinny Arsenal.

From January 2006 through December 2017, Company A, Pombo, and other Company A employees conspired to offer a variety of valuable gifts, including Apple products, luxury handbags, Beats headphones, and tickets to a luxury sky box at professional sporting events, valued at least $150,000 to $250,000, to numerous individuals employed at Picatinny Arsenal, including Pier, in order to obtain and retain contracts and other favorable assistance. 

Pombo admitted that she and other Company A employees filed false bills to the United States writing off the cost of the bribes as “materials” needed on government contracts. 

The conspiracy charge to which Pombo and Pier pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for June 19, 2018.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Bradley W. Cohen in Newark; the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Leigh-Alistair Barzey, and the U.S. Army, Major Procurement Fraud Unit, Criminal Investigation Command, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge L. Scott Moreland, with the ongoing investigation.   

The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel Margaret Ann Mahoney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s National Security Unit in Newark.     

Defense counsel:
Pier: Robert Galantucci Esq., Hackensack 
Pombo: Edward Cillick Esq., Hackensack

Updated March 20, 2018

Press Release Number: 18-109