Ex-D.C. worker admits taking thousands in kickback scheme

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By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 14, 2009

A former D.C. government employee admitted in federal court Friday that he took thousands of dollars in kickbacks to steer contracts to a technology consulting firm.

Farrukh Awan, 37, of South Riding, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud in a scandal that exposed lax oversight in the District's Office of the Chief Technology Officer.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 12 before U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. Awan faces 2 to 2 1/2 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. Five people, including three D.C. employees, have been charged in the scheme since March. Awan is the third to plead guilty.

In court papers, federal prosecutors alleged that Awan conspired with a technology office manager, Yussef Acar, to obtain kickbacks from a consulting firm owner.

The owner, Sushil Bansal, paid the kickbacks to place his employees as contractors in the D.C. government, prosecutors allege in court papers.

The scheme cost the D.C. government at least $500,000. Acar and Bansal have been charged in the scheme.

Acar, who was arrested in March, was charged this month with bribery in a "criminal information," a document that can be filed only with his consent and that usually signals a plea deal is near. No plea date has been set. Prosecutors say they want Acar to forfeit more than $250,000 in proceeds that they have tied to the scheme, which included the hiring of "ghost employees."

In court papers, Awan admitted he participated in the scam from 2005 through early 2007 and collected nearly $50,000 in kickbacks.

Awan and his attorney, Robert Bonsib, declined to comment after the hearing.

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