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Saturday, May 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Gov’t Worker Accused of Giving Himself Contracts

NEW YORK (CN) - An Immigration and Customs Enforcement worker was arrested Wednesday on charges that he gave his companies "hundreds of thousands of dollars" worth of government contracts.

Dave Balgobin worked as the Mission Support Specialist in the Detention and Removal Office of the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which houses detainees in deportation proceedings.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan says Balgobin, 49, was the sole person responsible for awarding contracts through his office.

In May 2008, the Office of Acquisition Management in Washington, D.C., was curious as to why a courier service contract for a company called Countrywide Office Solutions had a quoted price "substantially lower" than two other quotes, officials said.

The worker tried unsuccessfully to call Countrywide, then followed up with Balgobin, who told the worker that Countrywide was having phone problems, "but that he would pass the message along," officials said.

The worker then got an e-mail from someone claiming to be a Countrywide employee, and that the e-mail had the name "Dave Balgobin" attached to it.

When asked about the e-mail, Balbogin said the link appeared because he let the Countrywide employee to send the e-mail from his computer, officials said.

"Concerned about the possible connection," the worker then looked into a second contract with Aroma Scientific Corp. for janitorial services that was listed under the same name and address as Countrywide.

Officials say Balgobin is an "authorized signatory" on checking accounts for Countrywide, Aroma Scientific Corp. and a third company, Aromed. During an interview with authorities, Balgobin stated that his wife ran all three companies, officials said.

"Dave Balgobin was entrusted with awarding government contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to the lowest responsible bidder," Preet Bhara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said. "Instead, Balgobin awarded them to himself."

Balgobin is charged with one count of violating the federal conflict of interest statute, and faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

He surrendered to federal agents in Queens, N.Y., officials said.

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