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Former CIO admits accepting $1M in bribes for awarding contracts

TRENTON, NJ – A New York man allegedly admitted Thursday demanding bribes in exchange for his assistance in securing contracts between a Texas financial services company and two New Jersey information technology staffing companies, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Mark Berger, 58, of Roslyn pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to violate the Federal Travel Act.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, from January 2011 through March 2013, Berger was the chief information officer of SWBC, a financial services company based in Texas, and had the ability and authority to hire certain companies to perform work. Berger entered into contracts between SWBC and two companies based in New Jersey, including DaVinci Technology Corp., for information technology and staffing services.

As a condition of the contracts, Berger demanded that the owner of the IT companies, Anthony Curlo, 53, of Chester, NJ, pay him a certain percentage of the monies that the companies would receive from SWBC.

The IT companies received approximately $3 million in revenue from SWBC. Under the terms of the illegal kickback arrangement between Berger and Curlo, Berger was supposed to receive $1.14 million in kickback payments. Berger actually received $985,000 in cash payments, which were delivered to his home in New York.

The conspiracy to violate the Federal Travel Act charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Berger also forfeited $985,000 as part of his guilty plea. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 10, 2018.

Curlo previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme on Sept. 21, 2016 and awaits sentencing.

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By: Jay Edwards Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook