Monday, October 26, 2020

Alaska Company Pays $2M in Army Post Kickback, Bribery Suit

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An Alaska company and its subsidiary have paid more than $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the federal government that accused the company of paying kickbacks and bribes to secure government contracts at an El Paso Army post, officials said.

Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corp. and KIC Development LLC agreed to the $2,025,000 settlement last month, the El Paso Times reported. A federal court complaint shows the scheme involved a construction work contract at Fort Bliss that was part of a “$3 billion effort to transform” the base.

Court records indicate that from 2008 to 2009, three then-KIC employees unlawfully paid James G. Tuskan, a former contract worker with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

The scheme was revealed in 2010 after a KIC worker reported the alleged crimes committed by the company’s vice presidents Anthony Acri and Christine Hayes, as well as project manager Earl Hall, according to court documents and officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.

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The bribes included airline flights, money for hotels and vacations, and payments to Tuskan’s family.

Court documents show some of the bribes happened prior to Tuskan supposedly arranging for the Army Corps in Fort Worth to award KIC with the contract exceeding $2 million in 2009. KIC was subsequently awarded a $15 million contract to provide design, construction work, repairs and renovations to two buildings at Fort Bliss.

Tuskan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and was later sentenced to 15 months in prison. Hayes and Acri pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, with each receiving a five-year prison sentence.

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