Former acquisition official at Defense agency sentenced to 11 years

A former senior Defense Department official was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for directing $18.1 million in government funds to a contractor who was secretly giving him $500,000 in cash, vacations and other kickbacks.

Kevin Marlowe, 53, former chief of plans, requirements and acquisitions for the Defense Information Systems Agency, oversaw contracts for a data processing center at the Mechanicsburg, Pa., Navy base. Defense Department auditors were alerted to the fraud when they discovered that Marlowe made more than $11 million in payments to Vector Systems Inc. with government credit cards, an amount that added up to about one-third of the data processing center's contract awards over four years. Marlowe pleaded guilty in September 2005 and was sentenced last week.

"It was definitely one of largest corruption cases that we've seen in terms of dollar amount," said Bruce Brandler, senior litigation counsel for the Middle District of Pennsylvania's U.S. Attorney's office, which prosecuted the case. DISA's Inspector General's Office and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service investigated the case.

Marlowe's sentence also reflected two other illegal activities: In 2004 and 2005, he was found guilty of making false statements to the Social Security Administration related to disability benefits his wife received. Marlowe also operated a company from his home that he used to defraud a New Jersey environmental remediation firm. His wife, daughter, brother and nephew also were involved in his illegal activities, and received a variety of prison time and fines.

Marlowe's lawyer did not return calls seeking comment.

Benjamin Share, 77, owner and operator of Vector Systems Inc., a small Harrisburg, Pa.-based information technology company, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $10,200. Marlowe was a secret partner in Vector Systems. Both men received close to the maximum sentences possible, Brandler said.

Share also ran into trouble with the law before: He served as chief legal counsel for the Navy base in Mechanicsburg, Pa., until 1985, when he pleaded guilty to receiving illegal gifts.

Vector Systems' listed number has been disconnected.

In other contracting fraud news, another government contractor pleaded guilty to giving illegal payoffs to a former Army contracting director, the Justice Department said Friday. Ellis Aaron Abramson, 40, admitted to giving cash and other benefits to the unnamed contracting director in exchange for approvals of inflated contract costs.

Abramson's company, Bramson House Inc., provided the Armed Forces Recreation Center in Garmisch, Germany, with draperies and guest-room bedspreads. The center is used by military personnel serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Abramson faces up to seven years in prison.

A call to Bramson House was cut short when the person who answered the phone hung up without answering any questions.

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