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Indian-origin man pleads gulity to taking USD 2.5 million in bribes in US

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

An Indian-origin man has pleaded guilty to taking USD 2.5 million in bribes and kickbacks from companies seeking contracts to work on saving projects in the buildings, according to a media report.

Bhaskar Patel, 67, of Windermere, Florida, received the bribes and kickbacks when he served as a for Building Americas, based in in Massachusetts, VT Digger, a portal, reported.

He was responsible for obtaining bids from subcontractors and recommending for selection the subcontractors that would be awarded a contract under an saving project.

The payments were associated with savings performance contracts issued to by various federal agencies from June 6, 2011, to April 19, 2016.

He pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Rutland to two felony charges, each carrying maximum penalties of 10 years in prison. He remains free on his personal recognizance pending a December 7 sentencing hearing.

said federal probation officials would conduct a pre-sentence investigation before he formally hands down a sentence for Patel.

As part of a plea agreement, federal prosecutors filed a notice of forfeiture totalling USD 2,536,119 from Patel, the portal reported.

The plea agreement states that prosecutors have agreed to reduce the forfeiture amount to USD 1.75 million if Patel pays USD 950,000 on or before his sentencing, it said.

He also faces fines of up to USD 5,072,238.38, or twice his ill-gotten gains.

Among the items federal prosecutors are seeking to seize as part of the forfeiture are his property in Windermere; a 2012 Mercedes-Benz E Class E350 vehicle; a watch; six rings; 43 earrings; 10 bracelets; 18 bangles; six pendants, USD 35,700 in Indian rupees; and a timeshare property in Hilton Head, South Carolina, the portal reported.

Abigail Averbach, a in the case, said charges against other individuals involved in the case are possible, though she declined to say who those people might be.

Court records do indicate that in some cases Patel directed those paying him to write checks to his adult son and daughter. His children are only identified in court papers as "JP" and "FP".

David Smith, a for Schneider Electric, said after the hearing that Patel was terminated as soon as the allegations of wrongdoing came to light.

Patel's scheme came to light when received information that he had altered and falsified a bid document submitted to by a subcontractor bidding for work on an at the White River Junction VA facility, according to court records.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, August 07 2018. 11:05 IST