Former Sales Representative of Homeland Security Equipment Charged with Participating in Fraud Scheme

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- A former homeland security equipment sales representative of Pittsburgh-based Fisher Scientific International LLC (Fisher Scientific) is charged with participating in a conspiracy to defraud his former employer, the Department of Justice announced today. The individual, Angel L. Rodriguez Vasquez (Rodriguez), sold homeland security products, including emergency vehicle equipment, in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands .

According to the charge filed today in U.S. District Court in Orlando , Fla., Rodriguez participated in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud against Fisher Scientific beginning as early as September 2003 and continuing at least through July 2005 . While employed as a sales representative for Fisher Scientific, Rodriguez conspired to receive secret commission payments totaling almost $25,000 in exchange for his assistance in facilitating the sale of emergency vehicles from another homeland security vendor to the Virgin Islands government.

"Today's charge underscores the Department's commitment to preserving competition in the crucial homeland security vending industry," said Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department's Antitrust Division.

Rodriguez is charged with carrying out the conspiracy with co-conspirators by:

-- Agreeing to receive secret commission payments for facilitating an emergency vehicles contract between a co-conspirator's employer JPS Communications Inc. and the U.S. Virgin Islands government, after it was determined that Fisher Scientific would not participate in the sale of emergency vehicles to the Virgin Islands government. JPS served as the prime contractor for the sale of emergency vehicles to the U.S. Virgin Islands government;

-- Agreeing to receive secret commission payments of almost $25,000 from Advance Vehicle System LLC (AVS) (formerly known as Audio Intelligence Devices Inc.), and convincing AVS that the secret commission payments were legitimate commission payments rightfully owed to Rodriguez. AVS, a subcontractor of AK Specialty Vehicles LLC, provided explosive ordinance disposal equipment for the emergency vehicles sold to the U.S. Virgin Islands government;

-- Causing the wire transfer of approximately $3,300 in secret commission payments from AVS's bank account in Florida to his personal bank account in Puerto Rico ;

-- Causing a second wire transfer of approximately $7,700 in secret commission payments from AVS's bank account in Florida to his personal bank account in Puerto Rico ; and

-- Concealing from Fisher Scientific receipt of the secret commission payments.

Rodriguez is charged with conspiracy, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000 for an individual. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.

Today's charge is the first to arise out of an ongoing investigation conducted by the Antitrust Division's Atlanta Field Office, and the General Services Administration, Office of the Inspector General (New York Field Office). Anyone with information concerning price fixing, bid rigging, or kickback schemes in the homeland security vending industry should contact the Atlanta Field Office of the Antitrust Division at 404-331-7100.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice



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