Don Bauder 7:49 p.m., May 22
SPAWAR-like Kickback Scandal Hits Newport's Naval Undersea Warfare Center
The Providence, Rhode Island Journal is reporting that a kickback scandal at Newport's Naval Undersea Warfare Center bears striking similarities to the small business fraud scandal that broke two years ago at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego.
"In both cases," the paper notes, "prosecutors described a powerful Navy program manager who allegedly manipulated a lax contracting system to skim payments from millions of dollars worth of contracts. Both schemes involved small-business programs that streamline the competitive bidding process in order to speed contract awards."
Details of San Diego case as it progressed over the last two years were reported by our Don Bauder:
According to the Journal's report on Sunday:
"Aspects of the San Diego case carried distinct echoes to this year's case against NUWC program officer Ralph A. Mariano, who is charged with a long-running scheme to draw kickbacks from confederates at a small defense firm, Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow, in return for an escalating stream of cash bribes.
"Mariano has pleaded not guilty. Anjan Dutta-Gupta, the president of the now-defunct ASFT, and Russell Spencer, an Aquidneck Island defense consultant, have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing."
The paper asked Navy Secretary Ray Mabus (pictured above left) what he was doing about fraud in the Navy and he responded:
"I think one of the basic tenets of auditing, of management is you have to have a separation between the authority to contract –– to order up a change order or whatever –– and the oversight.
“You’re just asking for trouble if you don’t have that. And systemically in the Navy, I don’t think we had that to the extent we needed to. I think we do now.”
Here's Sunday's Journal story: