A local New Jersey media outlet recently reported that a Picatinny Arsenal contracting officer and an employee of the company that she was managing both pleaded guilty to charges of bribery while conducting defense-related work. The two persons charged were related to each other as mother, Irene Pombo and daughter, Nicole Pier. Information released by the New Jersey Attorney’s Office revealed that the pair had been actively bribing Picatinny employees since at least 2007, or a period of 12 years. Specifically, it appears that the pair worked together to provide high dollar gifts of over several hundred thousand dollars to Picatinny employees in order to secure defense contracts. The FBI along with a number of DOD criminal investigation services were credited with bringing the conspirators to counrt. An official mentioned that the investigation is still underway and other partners, possibly even within Picatinny Arsenal might be involved.
From the District Attorney’s Office–
From January 2006 through December 2017, Company A, Pombo, and other Company A employees conspired to offer a variety of valuable gifts, including Apple products, luxury handbags, Beats headphones, and tickets to a luxury sky box at professional sporting events, valued at least $150,000 to $250,000, to numerous individuals employed at Picatinny Arsenal, including Pier, in order to obtain and retain contracts and other favorable assistance.
Pombo admitted that she and other Company A employees filed false bills to the United States writing off the cost of the bribes as “materials” needed on government contracts.
A blog that follows the contracting world more in-depth had this to offer about the court case–
Irene Pombo was the contracts manager for Subsystem Technologies. Her daughter, Nicole Pier was an Acquisition Analyst and a Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) at Picatinny Arsenal. As COR, Ms. Pier had the responsibility and authority to monitor all aspects of the day-to-day administration of her contracts, to include the ordering of materials needed to accomplish the contract. These two individuals have now admitted their roles in a scheme that traded bribes and other gratuities for favorable treatment on Government contracts. There are three other, as yet unnamed co-conspirators working as Government employees that will be facing charges.
This bribery scheme went on for 12 years, from January 2006 through December 2017. Ms. Pombo would give items of value to her daughter Ms. Pier and the other co-conspirators in exchange. Subsystem Technologies would then bill the U.S. Government for the items of value given to these Picatinny Arsenal employees. This added another charge to the indictment of making false, fictitious or fraudulent claims against the Government.
An October 2012 Technical Status Report lists Irene Pombo as “Contracting Officer” for Subsystem Technologies Inc. Looking through contract awards on Defense.gov revealed at least 3 separate contracts from Picatinny Arsenal that went either to Subsystem Technologies directly or contracts that Subsystem Technologies was apart of. The contracts range from $9,931,309 awarded on July 22nd 2015, $49,778,189 awarded to five seperate companies on August 3rd 2015, and $29,967,029 similarly to five companies on September 18th 2014. The company had many more contracts with Picatinny’s Tactical Effects, Protection and Interactive Technologies Directorate, a section within the Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, otherwise abbreviated as “ARDEC”. Many of the contracts awarded appeared to be mostly for research or work conducted outside of Picatinny that was related to ongoing projects on the Army research base.
Defense Contractor And Civilian Employee At U.s. Military Base Admit Bribery Scheme Involving Government Contracts