Hallas and his attorney, Preston Burton, declined to comment after the plea hearing; no sentencing date was set.
Law enforcement sources said that their investigation into Hallas and Nova Datacom led them to a bribery and kickback scam involving two program managers at the Army Corps of Engineers. Those employees and at least one representative of a contracting company are accused of fleecing the federal government of about $20 million; they had their sights set on another lucrative contract when they were arrested last week, federal prosecutors have said.
In court papers, prosecutors wrote that Hallas was the executive vice president of operations for Nova Datacom and engaged in his conspiracy from 2007 through December 2010. Hallas and another man, identified in court papers as Rajesh Kumar Malik, helped each other by providing fake references and evaluations about their respective companies. Such performance references aid firms in obtaining contracts.
In one case, Hallas provided a false performance evaluation to Malik’s company, MED Trends; the firm then won a Labor Department contract worth up to $20 million, prosecutors said.
Malik has been charged in the fraud but his case remains under seal, according to sources familiar with the probe.
As they investigated Malik and Hallas last year, federal agents began to focus on one of Hallas’ co-workers, Alex Cho, Nova Datacom’s chief technology officer. Cho would eventually cooperate with federal authorities and help them unravel the contracting scandal at the Army Corps, law enforcement sources said.
Cho has been charged in the scam, the sources said, but the charges could not be determined because his case remains under seal.
Starting this year, Cho recorded meetings with the Army Corps employees and a private contractor; some of those recordings reveal bribe and kickback payments, authorities have said.
The two Army Corps employees, Kerry F. Khan, 53, of Alexandria and Michael A. Alexander, 55, of Woodbridge, are charged with wire fraud, bribery and money laundering. Harold F. Babb, 60, director of contracting at Dulles-based EyakTek, and Khan’s son Lee, 30, were arrested on the same charges.