NJ’s Picatinny Arsenal High Ranking Staffer Confesses to Defense Corruption

New Jersey National Guard’s 21st Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team members 2nd Lt. Brandon Botley, left, assists Strike Team member Sgt. Joe Bercovic, second from left, while Staff Sgt. Kenneth Williams, second from right, zips Strike Team member Staff Sgt. Nicky Lam’s Level A Protective Suit during a training exercise with the Picatinny Arsenal Fire Department at the New Jersey Homeland Defense Homeland Security Center at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., Mar. 23, 2017. The 21st WMD-CST is a joint unit comprised of New Jersey National Guard Soldiers and Airmen whose mission is to support civil authorities by identifying chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear substances in either man-made or natural disasters. (New Jersey National Guard photo by Mark C. Olsen/Released)

A high-ranking civilian Defense Department employee serving at the 6,400 acre Picatinny Arsenal (PICA) and a defense contractor assigned to PICA admitted their conspiring with others to obtain bribes and other “gratuities” in return for assistance with the awarding of government contracts, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced at his office in Newark, New Jersey on Monday.

The military installation located in Rockaway Township/Jefferson Township in Morris County, New Jersey, provides almost to 90% of the lethal mechanisms used in U.S. Army weapon systems and other military services and is nestled in the Northwest region of New Jersey, just 35 miles from New York City.

Robert Dombroski, 64, who resides in Branchville, New Jersey, was a high-ranking employee at PICA. He pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Vazquez in Newark’s federal court building to conspiring to commit wire fraud in order to accept or receive items of value in return for help with vendors obtaining favorable government contracts and with making false claims against the United States government, according to documents obtained by the National Association of  Chiefs of Police..

Meanwhile, 53-year-old Indra Nayee of Metuchen, New Jersey, entered a guilty plea before the same Judge Vazquez admitting that he conspired to give, offer or promise anything of value to a public official and to make false claims against the United States.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Dombroksi worked at Picatinny Arsenal, a U.S. Army installation in Morris County, New Jersey, for more than 30 years. PICA conducts research, development, acquisition and lifecycle management of advanced conventional weapons systems and advanced ammunitions and provides products and services to all branches of the U.S. military.

Dombroski admitted that from at least January 2010 through December 2017, he conspired with other employees at PICA, with Subsystems Technology (STI) – a defense contracting firm that works with PICA and specializes in advanced engineering, advanced analytics, management consulting and IT services, including cyber-security – and employees of STI.

He conspired to seek and accept gifts and other items of value, such as Apple products, luxury handbags, Beats headphones, and tickets to a luxury sky box at professional sporting events, valued at least $150,000 to $250,000, from STI in exchange for assistance in obtaining and retaining government contracts and other favorable assistance at PICA. He also admitted that in order to cover up his crimes, he filed false statements to the Department of Defense by failing to list the items of value he received from STI on his annual confidential financial disclosure form known as an OGE Form 450.    

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Nayee, an employee of STI, admitted that from January 2012 through December 2016, he conspired with STI and other employees of STI to offer gifts and other items of value to numerous individuals employed at PICA in order to obtain and retain contracts and other favorable assistance at PICA. He also admitted that he and other employees at STI, and the company, submitted false bills to the United States writing off the cost of the bribes as “materials” needed on United States government contracts, when in fact the gifts and other items of value were for the personal use and enjoyment of the employees at PICA and not for any legitimate government purpose.

The conspiracy charge to which Dombroski and Nayee pleaded guilty carries a maximum prison sentence of five years plus a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss associated with the offense, whichever is greatest. Sentencing for Dombroski is scheduled for Nov. 19, 2019, while sentencing for Nayee is scheduled for Dec. 16, 2019.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark; the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Leigh-Alistair Barzey, Special Agent in Charge, DCIS Northeast Field Office; and the U.S. Army, Major Procurement Fraud Unit, Criminal Investigation Command, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge L. Scott Moreland, with the investigation leading to the guilty pleas.

The government is being represented by Senior Trial Counsel Margaret Ann Mahoney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s National Security Unit in Newark.

NACOP Chiefs of Police - James Kouri

Jim Kouri is a member of the Board of Advisors and a former vice president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, Inc. a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization incorporated in Florida in May 1967. The Association was organized for educational and charitable activities for law enforcement officers in command ranks and supervisory agents of state & federal law enforcement agencies as well as leaders in the private security sector. NACOP also provides funding to small departments, officers and the families of those officers paralyzed and disabled in the line of duty.

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