A former civilian employee of the U.S. Army’s Directorate of Public Works pleaded guilty today for his role in a bribe program to direct government contracts for work at Camp Arifjan, a base of the US Army in Kuwait.
According to court documents, Ephraim Garcia, 64, admitted to conspiring with Gandhiraj Sankaralingam, alias Gandhi Raj, former managing director and co-owner of Kuwait-based contracting company Gulf Link Venture Co. WLL (Gulf Link), to lead the government contracts with Gulf Link. In his position with the US military, Garcia has been involved in soliciting, awarding, and managing certain government contracts related to facility support at Camp Arifjan.
In 2015, at an Olive Garden restaurant in Mahboula, Kuwait, Garcia and Sankaralingam approached a contractor employee responsible for base support services. During this meeting, they offered to remunerate the employee of the project manager in exchange for his assistance in piloting subcontracts worth more than $ 3 million to Gulf Link. Rather than accept the program, the supervisor’s employee reported the bribe offer to the authorities. Garcia was arrested in the Philippines in December 2019. On August 19, 2020, Sankaralingam was indicted on an indictment of conspiracy to bribe and illegally tip Garcia. Sankaralingam remains a fugitive.
Garcia pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to offer a bribe and to one count of offering a bribe. He is due to be sentenced on October 22 and faces a maximum of five years in prison for conspiracy and 10 years in prison for bribery. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
Deputy Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice; Director Marion F. Robey of the Major Procurement Fraud Unit, US Army Criminal Investigation Command; and Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Paul Sternal of the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, Defense Criminal Investigation Service (DCIS), made the announcement.
The US Army Criminal Investigations Command and DCIS are investigating the case.
Trial attorneys Christopher Jackson and Matthew Sullivan of the Criminal Divisions Fraud Section are continuing the case.
The charges in the indictment against Sankaralingam are only allegations, and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.
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