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Former Army contractor in Afghanistan took kickbacks

Image courtesy fo the U.S. ArmyA former project manager of a U.S. construction company working on U.S. government contracts in Afghanistan admitted Wednesday in federal court to soliciting a $60,000 kickback from an Afghan subcontractor in 2011.

Robert L. Bertolini pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and receive an illegal kickback, the Justice Department said.

Bertolini worked for a construction company that received a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contract to build a forward-operating base for the Afghan National Army in Kabul Province, Afghanistan.   

The construction company then subcontracted with an Afghan construction company. Before the subcontract was awarded in the spring of 2011, Bertolini solicited a $60,000 kickback and a job for his son.   

On May 11, 2011, the subcontractor’s vice president wired the $60,0000 from Afghanistan to Bertolini’s son’s bank account in Ohio.

In return, Bertolini approved two modifications on the subcontract — for which Bertolini did not have actual approval from his company. One change was $980,000 and the other $680,000.

Bertolini, an Arizona resident, entered his plea in a federal court in Tucson.

He’s scheduled to be sentenced by the court on October 8, 2014.


Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.

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