Washington, DC - A former civilian employee of the U.S. Army was charged in an indictment unsealed Thursday for his role in a scheme to steer Army contracts for work to be performed at Camp Arifjan, a U.S. Army base in Kuwait.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent Jozette Gillespie, Acting Director, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command's (CID) Major Procurement Fraud Unit and Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Craig Jr. of the U.S. Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office made the announcement.
Ephraim Garcia, 62, was charged in an indictment filed in December 2018 in the District of Columbia with one count of offering a bribe, one count of receiving illegal gratuities and one count of offering kickbacks. The indictment further charges Gandhi Raj, 39, with paying illegal gratuities to Garcia.
As alleged in the indictment, Garcia worked in the U.S. Army’s Directorate of Public Works and was involved in the solicitation, award and management of various government contracts related to projects at Camp Arifjan. In or around September 2015, Garcia allegedly approached an employee of a prime contractor and offered to pay him in exchange for his assistance in steering contracts to a particular subcontractor owned by Raj, Gulf Link Venture Company. Garcia allegedly told the prime contractor employee that Gulf Link would artificially inflate the cost of certain of its bid proposals, and Garcia, Gulf Link and the prime contractor employee would split the proceeds. Additionally, over a period of about five years, Garcia and/or members of his immediate family allegedly received over $170,000 in wire transfers from Raj and other individuals associated with Gulf Link and another subcontractor that was bidding on work under the prime contract.
Garcia was arrested on Dec. 10, 2019, in the Philippines, where he has been residing since 2016. Raj, who was living in Kuwait at the time of the offense, remains a fugitive.
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The Army CID and DCIS investigated the case. Trial Attorney Christopher D. Jackson of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting the case.