Maryland couple pleads guilty to kickback scheme related to NASA contract


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Date: October 15, 2021


Alexandria, VA — A Gaithersburg, Maryland, husband and wife pleaded guilty on September 30 and today, respectively, to engaging in a kickback scheme in which they unlawfully received money related to a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) grant program and to conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by not paying income taxes on the kickbacks they received.

According to court documents, since around 2002 through 2019, Ana Veronica Giri, a NASA subcontractor, conspired with her husband, Vishesh Giri to receive kickbacks in exchange for Ana Giri ensuring that a specific vendor would be selected to provide information technology and audio-visual services necessary for a NASA contract. Vishesh Giri served as a runner by traveling to the vendor's office locations in the Eastern District of Virginia to collect the payments.

Court records show the Giris and the vendor agreed to a payment routine in which the Giris would receive 10% of each contract awarded to the vendor. In addition to the monetary kickbacks, the vendor provided the Giris with televisions, computers, and other electronic equipment. Since 2011, the Giris received at least $707,331, paid through 260 kickback payments. The Giris did not report these earnings on their 2011 through 2019 income tax returns, which resulted in a tax loss of at least $165,471. As a result of this conspiracy, the Giris were able to maintain a lavish lifestyle, including the purchase of multiple real estate properties between 2005 and 2018 in Maryland and North Carolina.

The Giris pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and to defraud the IRS. Ana Giri and Vishesh Giri are scheduled to be sentenced on February 25, 2022. The Giris each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Darrell J. Waldon, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation; Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division; and NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III accepted the pleas.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly M. Shartar and Jamar K. Walker are prosecuting the case.