Ex-D.C. Manager Pleads Guilty in Tech Office Scam
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
A former D.C. government manager has admitted that she participated in a kickback and bribery scandal involving the District's technology office.
Tawanna Sellmon, 52, of Northwest Washington pleaded guilty last week to a charge of unlawful supplementation of a government salary. She faces up to six months in prison under federal guidelines and will be sentenced Dec. 10.
Prosecutors said in court papers that Sellmon, a program financial manager in the District's Office of the Chief Technology Officer, accepted gift cards and $2,000 in cash from a private contractor. The gift cards ranged in value from $25 to $100, prosecutors wrote in court papers.
Sellmon gave the contractor, Sushil Bansal, her username and password for the computerized database used by the government to track purchase orders, prosecutors said.
Sellmon is the fifth person, and the third former D.C. employee, to be charged in the scam. She is the second to plead guilty.
Bansal's firm, Advanced Integrated Technologies, did millions of dollars in business with the D.C. government. Prosecutors said Bansal and others enriched themselves by lying on time sheets and invoices for contracting work.
They also obtained contracts for "ghost employees" who did no work, prosecutors have said. The scheme cost the D.C. government at least $500,000, prosecutors have said.
Bansal, 42, was charged with conspiring to commit a bribe. He was released after his arrest in March, pending trial.
Yusuf Acar, 40, a former manager in the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, was charged in March with wire fraud and conspiring to commit bribery and to launder money.
He is being held without bail while he awaits trial.
Prosecutors said Acar used his position as the acting chief technology security officer to steer contracts to Bansal's firms for bribes.
He also received kickbacks for hiring the ghost employees, prosecutors have said.