Former Tech Manager Held Without Bail
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
A former D.C. government technology manager was ordered held without bail yesterday by a federal judge who said the evidence that he accepted bribes and kickbacks was "overwhelming."
Yusuf Acar, 40, has been at the D.C. jail since his arrest Thursday on charges including wire fraud and conspiring to commit bribery and launder money. Prosecutors argued that he was a flight risk and estimated that the alleged fraud cost the D.C. government at least $500,000.
They said he told an informant that he planned to jump on the next plane to his native Turkey if he thought authorities were closing in on him. They also said he explored setting up bank accounts in other countries.
Agents found about $70,000 in cash in Acar's Northwest Washington house, prosecutors said. They initially said $4,500 was discovered in the pajamas Acar was wearing when he was arrested, but prosecutors yesterday said the money was in his pants.
Federal prosecutors have said that Acar used his position as acting chief security officer to steer contracts to companies for bribes. They also say he had a stake in a company that received D.C. contracts and received kickbacks for hiring "ghost" employees.
Acar's attorney, federal public defender Dani Jahn, argued that the father of four children would not flee. Jahn said Acar became a U.S. citizen in 1995 and was "just boasting" when he told an informant that he planned to escape or set up bank accounts in other countries. She urged U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola to put Acar on home detention. Facciola, however, said he believed Acar could flee if released and ordered him held until a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 22.
Federal agents began investigating Acar a year ago when a D.C. employee approached them and worked undercover for FBI agents, recording conversations between Acar and a business executive who is accused of participating in the scheme.
Sushil Bansal, 41, chief executive of the contracting firm Advanced Integrated Technologies Corp., was arrested on bribery and money-laundering charges Thursday and released on personal recognizance.
In another development, the White House said Vivek Kundra, who was placed on leave as the country's top information officer, had been reinstated. He had headed the city's technology office before going to the White House. A White House spokesman said Kundra was told that he was neither a subject nor a target of the probe.