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BRIBERY SCANDAL

Prosecutors Urge Judge to Keep D.C. Technology Official in Jail

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By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A D.C. technology manager accused of operating a complex bribery and kickback scheme had more than $4,500 inside pajamas he was wearing when he was arrested last week, and he told an informant that he had given $100,000 in cash to his mother to take back to his native Turkey, federal prosecutors said.

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Prosecutors disclosed the details in a court filing yesterday that urged a federal judge to keep Yusuf Acar, 40, in jail. They said they are concerned that he might flee if released before his trial.

Acar "has the motive, skills and wherewithal to flee and thrive on the lam," Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Hibarger and Glenn S. Leon wrote.

Acar is accused of using his position as acting chief security officer at the D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer to steer contracts to companies for bribes, awarding contracts to a firm in which he had a financial stake and accepting kickbacks for hiring "ghost" employees.

His attorney, public defender Dani Jahn, declined to comment on the case yesterday. Acar, who has been jailed since his arrest Thursday, is scheduled to have a detention hearing today before U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola.

Acar and a business executive who was also arrested Thursday were described by prosecutors in the court filing as the "two primary participants" in the alleged scam. The businessman, Sushil Bansal, 41, president and chief executive of the contracting firm Advanced Integrated Technologies, was released on personal recognizance.

Federal agents began investigating Acar after being approached last April by a D.C. employee who agreed to record conversations with Acar as part of the probe. In yesterday's court filing, prosecutors wrote that they think Acar had operated the "complicated scheme for years."

Acar was charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and launder money, honest-services wire fraud and conflict of interest. He could face 6 1/2 years to a little more than eight years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines if convicted, prosecutors wrote.

They said that the potential sentence makes Acar a flight risk, and that they are not sure anyone could guarantee his compliance with pretrial supervision rules. Acar "involved his wife and several friends and co-workers" in his alleged crimes, they wrote.

FBI agents have said that Bansal wrote several checks worth a total of $70,201 to Acar's wife, Galen, in 2006 and 2007. She has not been charged in the case.

As further evidence of Acar's flight risk, prosecutors alleged that he had explored setting up bank accounts in Kenya and Canada to hide illicit funds.

Federal agents found U.S. and Turkish passports in Acar's home, and he told the informant that he would "jump on the next plane, go to Turkey and disappear" to avoid arrest, prosecutors wrote.

He also told the informant that he was working to smuggle another $200,000 in cash to Turkey with the help of a friend who has a diplomatic pouch, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said that the evidence against Acar was "overwhelming," and that the informant and three others, presumably D.C. government employees, have implicated Acar in the crimes.

Federal prosecutors also said that Acar has "admitted his involvement in the charged schemes." They did not specify whether the alleged statements were made to FBI agents, the informant or others.


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