Former Palm Desert federal official admits taking money illegally
A former Palm Desert Defense Department project services official admitted receiving money from contractors for federal work overseas and now faces up to 10 years in prison, announced today ‘hui the authorities.
Nizar Farhat, 63, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of receiving an illegal gratuity and being a public official taking money from private parties for government work.
U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal has scheduled a sentencing hearing for October 4 at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Riverside.
The defendant remains free on a bond of $ 75,000. He was a former director of construction with offices at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms.
In December, a federal grand jury released an indictment listing the two offenses to which he had pleaded guilty. At the time, Farhat was staying in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, where he was arrested without incident by FBI agents and returned to California.
According to the US Attorney’s Office, in 2014 and 2015, the accused was on temporary assignment at the US Navy’s Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, where he oversaw the $ 15 million contract from a private company for the construction of an aircraft hangar and a telecommunications facility. Once the projects were completed, the company submitted to the
The Pentagon’s “Fair Adjustment Requests” – REA – which called for $ 6.43 million in additional payments for the work, prosecutors said.
They alleged that Farhat met with company representatives on four occasions at hotels in Las Vegas and Palm Springs between December 2015 and October 2017.
During the meetings, the defendant accepted a payment of $ 15,000 for providing his assistance in transmitting the REAs, as well as a separate cash payment of $ 22,000 to submit his recommendation to the Navy for approval, according to
at the United States Attorney’s Office.
Most REAs are on hold, awaiting review by the Defense Ministry, prosecutors said.