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Three United Airlines Employees Accepted Bribes to Award ‘Lucrative’ Multi-Million-Dollar Renovation Contracts at Newark Airport

Three United Airlines Employees Accepted Bribes to Award ‘Lucrative’ Multi-Million-Dollar Renovation Contracts at Newark Airport

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Three United Airlines employees accepted bribes and kickbacks, which included having their own homes remodelled and Rolex watches, to award ‘lucrative’ renovation contracts at Newark Liberty Airport, including a $19.7 million contract to refit bathrooms in United’s part of the airport.

Alok Saksena, 45, Anthony Rosalli, 44, and Lovella Rogan, 48, have all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud following a federal probe into how the unnamed company managed to beat out at least two competitors who had offered to do the work at a lower cost.

The suspects include an airline corporate real estate director based in` Newark, an airline senior manager and a contractor, all of whom have been terminated by United since the allegations came to light.

Federal prosecutors allege that in mid-2021, United Airlines started a bidding process for a general contracting contract, which included the bathroom renovation work. The suspects used their influence on the contract committee to make sure a specific company won the bid.

That company had agreed to pay for interior renovations at the residences of the three suspects. Prosecutors alleged that the suspects accepted payment for the renovation work on the understanding that they would help the company win the contract.

Saksena took bribes valued at $539,000, while the bribes paid to Rogan and Rosalli were said to be worth $409,000 and $276,000, respectively. As well as home renovation works, the bribes also included electronic gadgets and jewelry.

Leading up to the Christmas holiday in 2021, Saksena even sent the company a Christmas list, which included a Rolex watch, iPads, Apple AirPods and a nine-room dolls house.

The company bought these items, as well as a set of diamond earrings.

The costs of all of these bribes, however, spiralled out of control, and the company struggled to make money from the contracts it had illegally won. In order to recoup these costs, the suspects then started to artificially inflate change orders, such as, in one case, inflating a change order from $240,000 to $330,000.

 “These individuals admit to taking bribes in the form of home renovations, electronics and jewelry instead of money, thinking no one would notice,” commented James E. Dennehy, FBI – Newark Special Agent in Charge.

“Greasing someone’s palm for a lucrative contract not only isn’t fair, but it’s also illegal,” Dennehy continued.

The trio now face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is expected to take place on April 17 and April 18, 2024.

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