Home Banking & Finance White Plains businesswoman accused of $891,000 in kickbacks for $8.4M contract

White Plains businesswoman accused of $891,000 in kickbacks for $8.4M contract

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A White Plains businesswoman has been charged in an alleged bribery scheme that netted her company a $8.4 million contract for $891,000 in kickbacks.

Gabriela Bratkovics was arrested last month and charged in Manhattan federal court with conspiracy, honest services fraud, bank fraud and bribery.

bribery kickbacks
Bratkovics

Federal court documents do not disclose her hometown but she signed a confession of judgment that was filed in Westchester Supreme Court, pledging her White Plains house as security for a $1 million personal recognizance bond that enabled her release from custody.

Evan Brown and Richard Wong, whose hometowns were not disclosed, also were arrested and accused of the same crimes. They posted $500,000 bonds.

Bratkovics and Brown are co-founders of a unspecified temporary staffing company, where she was the chief executive officer, according to the criminal complaint, and he was the chief financial officer. She also controlled another temporary staffing company allegedly used in the scheme.

ENG InfoTech Corp., a staffing company in Fairfield, New Jersey has shown Bratkovics as its CFO and Brown as the CEO.

Wong worked for a large bank in Manhattan, according to the criminal complaint, where he was responsible for negotiating contracts and managing vendors.

In June 2013, the bank agreed to a master service agreement with a temporary staffing company. The deal was signed by Bratkovics.

After the services began, Wong allegedly began discussing kickbacks, and in December 2013 the payments allegedly began.

In 2015, he proposed a $250 per week per employee flat rate, according to the complaint.

“I think this is fair,” an email from Wong to Bratkovics states, “and we don’t need to haggle among friends … especially when you have more opportunities in the pipeline.”

Over five years, beginning in January 2014, Bratkovics and Brown allegedly paid Wong $891,000 in cash, checks and wire transfers. The staffing business received more than $8.4 million for its services.

Forty wire transfers were sent in Bratkovics’ name from her two companies, the government claims, to Wong’s personal bank accounts.

Bratkovics wanted Wong to set up a corporation for receiving the payments, according to the complaint.

“It takes five minutes,” she stated in a July 2018 email. “You told me last time it would be the last time. This is putting me in a really bad position, I think we are playing with fire. I would really appreciate it if this (is) truly the last time we are doing it this way.”

By then, the bank had notified Wong that he was being fired. But the bank continued to use the staffing company to December 2018, and Wong allegedly continued to receive kickbacks.

Katherine Reilly and Dina McLeod, assistant U.S. attorneys, are in charge of the prosecution.

Bratkovics is represented by Manhattan attorney Daniel J. Horwitz. He did not respond to an email asking for his client’s side of the story.

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