Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Indian-American couple scammed $460m from New York project

NEW YORK: An Indian-American couple owning a New Jersey company have been charged with raking in more than $460 million in crooked cash through New York's scandal-scarred CityTime payroll project.

The New York Post citing court papers said Reddy and Dr Padma Allen secured a lucrative, no-bid subcontract that made it look like their firm, TechnoDyne, was "a successful and fast-growing company."

But the "engine of its growth" was actually an over-billing scam in which the Reddys paid millions in kickbacks and hired a bevy of crooked sub-subcontractors, the daily said citing an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court.

Prosecutors said brazen corruption was part of a "massive and elaborate scheme" involving high-ranking execs at prime contractor Science Applications International Corp.(SAIC) that drove up the enormous bills for CityTime, which was initially budgeted at $63 million but has cost more than $720 million to date.

"As a result, virtually the entirety of the well over $600 million that the city paid to SAIC on the CityTime project was tainted, directly or indirectly, by fraud," the indictment said.

Manhattan's Indian-American US Attorney Preet Bharara called the scam "truly jaw-dropping" and "epic in duration, magnitude and scope."

Bharara was quoted as saying an ongoing investigation showed that CityTime was "corrupted to core" through contract changes engineered by supervising consultant Mark Mazer-who was busted last year-after which the fraud "metastasized over time,"

The Reddys, who face charges including conspiracy to defraud New York City, remain at large, having fled to India in February after getting slapped with grand-jury subpoenas, the indictment says.

The Post cited Bharara as saying his office was seeking to have the couple extradited to face

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