Owner Of Auto Repair Shop Servicing Government Vehicles Admits Bribing Government Official
NEWARK, N.J. – The owner of Autotron Systems Inc., an auto repair shop that provided auto repair services to numerous government agencies, admitted today that he paid bribes to a federal agent in exchange for the agent’s assistance in referring government business to Autotron and expediting and inflating payments, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Taras Maczaj, 66, of New York, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to an Information charging him with one count of bribing a federal agent then employed as a supervisory special agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in New York.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Maczaj was the president and chief executive officer of Autotron, which provided, among other things, vehicle repairs and upgrades to government-owned vehicles, including vehicles owned by DHS and ICE.
From as early as May 2007 to February 2011, Maczaj purchased multiple gift cards to be used as bribe payments. During that time, he gave more than $10,000 in gifts cards to the agent, including at locations in New Jersey.
Maczaj admitted he provided the gift cards to the agent in exchange for the agent’s referral of all government-owned vehicles under the agent’s control that needed repairs, maintenance or other work; expediting the payment of Autotron’s invoices; and approving invoices that contained fraudulent or inflated charges for services Autotron purportedly performed on the vehicles.
The count to which Maczaj pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 4, 2013.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of DHS, Office of Professional Responsibility, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge, Northeast, Terence Opiola; the DHS, Office of Inspector General, Northeast, under the direction of Gregory K. Null; special agents of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael P. Tompkins; and ICE, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara R. Llanes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.