Eghbal “Eddie” Saffarinia, former assistant inspector general for IT, allegedly steered contracts to a friend’s company and failed to disclose cash payments.
A federal grand jury on Wednesday returned a seven-count indictment against a former assistant inspector general at the Housing and Urban Development Department, charging him with procurement fraud.
According to the 19-page indictment, Eghbal “Eddie” Saffarinia “steered significant government business to Company A and its business partners” at the same time he was receiving payments worth tens of thousands of dollars from the Virginia-based company’s chief executive.
Saffarinia, a member of the Senior Executive Service, worked for HUD’s Office of Inspector General from February 2012 until September 2017, first as assistant IG for information technology and later as assistant IG for management and technology. He also served as the OIG’s head of contracting activity, where he was the senior manager supervising procurements.
The indictment alleges that beginning in early 2012, Saffarinia used his procurement oversight role and access to contractor proposal and source selection information to execute a scheme under which “Company A received approximately $1,065,520 for subcontractor work performed under the IT services contract.”
Allegedly assisting Saffarinia in the scheme was another OIG employee he hired in August 2012 to head the office's new predictive analytics department, the indictment alleges, referring to that individual as Person B. According to the indictment, Saffarinia, Person B and the company executive (Person A) “were friends who emigrated from the same country, went to college together in the early 1980s, and socialized with each other on a regular basis. Saffarinia and Person B also co-owned an information technology business in the late 1990s, and Saffarinia and Person A had a long-standing financial relationship.”
The Justice Department noted in a statement: “During a period in which Saffarinia received payments and loans from his friend totaling $80,000, Saffarinia disclosed confidential internal government information to his friend and undertook efforts to steer government contracts and provide competitive advantages and preferential treatment to his friend’s company. Saffarinia also failed to disclose this financial relationship and another large promissory note on his public financial disclosure forms.”
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community. Trial Attorneys Edward P. Sullivan and Rosaleen T. O’Gara of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting the case.