Bank IT bod pocketed nearly $1m in kickbacks from tech contractor bosses for sending deals their way, Feds claim

Cuffed procurement bureaucrat took percentage cut, it is alleged

An IT worker at a New York bank steered multi-million-dollar deals to a technology contractor in exchange for $900,000 in kickbacks, it is claimed.

Richard Wong, now a former employee at the unspecified US financial organization, was this month charged [PDF] with fraud, bribery, and conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud for directing contractors to ENG Infotech, which provides tech temps to big biz.

Two founders of that IT provider – CEO Gabriela Bratkovics, and CFO Evan Brown – are also charged with bribery, fraud, and conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud. ENG declined to comment.

It is alleged that over a roughly seven-year period between 2011 and 2018, Wong used his position within the IT procurement office at the bank to direct contracts to Brown and Bratkovics' company. In exchange, it's claimed, he received cash payouts totaling $891,000.

Prosecutors say the scheme was highly lucrative for both sides. They estimate ENG made about $8.4m from the contracts, while Wong pocketed a set percentage in kickbacks, dependent on how many temp workers the bank booked at the time.

According to the criminal complaint, filed in a US district court in Manhattan, Wong helped the service provider win the bank's business by not only pointing contracts their way, but also by cluing them in on the bank's procurement process by CC'ing the two in emails while using his corporate network. In exchange, it is alleged, Brown and Bratkovics arranged for 40 wire transfers, deposits, and checks to be sent to Wong's personal bank accounts from 2014 to 2018.

"On multiple occasions, beginning in or about January 2014, Bratkovics, Brown, and Wong exchanged emails discussing spreadsheets that appear to detail the names and hours worked by [the contractor's] staffers at [the bank] for specified time periods. At the bottom of the spreadsheets was a calculation that appears to determine how much [the contractor] is to pay Wong in kickbacks for that period," prosecutors said in announcing the charges today.

"Throughout the period in which Wong was receiving kickbacks from [the bank], [the contractor] not only continued to provide services to [the bank], but Wong also repeatedly provided Bratkovics and Brown with information about [the bank's] internal discussions regarding use of [the contractor's] services by blind carbon copying them on emails."

Uncle Sam's lawyers also pointed to emails between Wong and his co-defendants which appear to specifically discuss the specifics of contracts and proposals in order to orchestrate a deal in exchange for kickbacks. "Send me your spreadsheet on the 5 resources I gotten for you .. And your proposal... Let's get on the same page," one message read, according to the Dept of Justice.

In another email presented as part of the complaint, Wong directly proposes a payout amount: "After all these businesses that I have given you ... think we can make our life simpler just do it one way ... $250 for every week (which is 40 hours per week). If you want to talk, please msg[.] me and if I am free, we will talk. But I think this is fair and we don't need to haggle among friends .... especially when you have more opportunities in the pipeline."

A trial date has yet to be set. ®

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