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Long Island Man Sentenced for Bribes at Fort Monmouth

Thanomsak Hongthong was sentenced to two years in prison for offering a bribe to a government contracting officer.

Five months after the closing of Fort Monmouth, a federal judge handed down a sentence to a Long Island contractor who tried to bribe his way to an $800,000 raise on a contract he was awarded. He was turned in by the official he tried to buy, a Department of Defense contract official who was working at the fort at the time.

This statement was issued by the US Attorney's office, district of New Jersey on Thursday:

The president and CEO of a defense contracting firm in Long Island, NY, was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for offering a $100,000 bribe to a Department of Defense contracting officer at Fort Monmouth, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced Thursday.

Thanomsak Hongthong, 58, of Shoreham, NY, had previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to the charge of bribery. Judge Thompson pronounced sentence on Thursday in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Nov. 18, 2009, Hongthong’s company, VDH Precision Machining Corp. – a manufacturer of electrical and mechanical component parts located in Bohemia, NY – was awarded a contract worth more than $1.7 million to provide spare parts to the Army. This contract was administered by the Army’s Contracting Center of the Communications and Electronics Command (CECOM) located in Fort Monmouth. CECOM develops, procures and sustains communications and information technologies systems.

Shortly after VDH was awarded this contract, Hongthong contacted the Department of Defense contracting officer at Fort Monmouth who was responsible for the contract. Hongthong told the contracting officer that one of VDH’s vendors had increased its price on one of the spare parts VDH was required to provide under the contract, and the contracting officer told Hongthong there was nothing the government could do about the situation.

Hongthong later called the contracting officer and requested a meeting, which took place at Fort Monmouth on Feb. 5, 2010. At the end of this meeting, Hongthong made a statement to the contracting officer that the contracting officer took as an offer of a bribe. The contracting officer then contacted officials at Fort Monmouth, who began the investigation.

At the direction of law enforcement, the contracting officer met with Hongthong on March 17, 2010, at a location near Fort Monmouth. During this recorded meeting, Hongthong offered the contracting officer $100,000 if the contracting officer would increase the price of the contract by $430,000. Hongthong also offered the contracting officer $10,000 in cash up front.

In a recorded telephone conversation that took place on March 23, 2010, Hongthong offered the contracting officer $10,000 cash up front, but asked that the contracting officer now increase the overall price of the contract by $800,000. The contracting officer and Hongthong agreed to meet on March 27, 2010, at a rest stop off of the Garden State Parkway. Hongthong agreed to bring the initial $10,000 cash payment to this meeting.

Hongthong admitted to meeting with the contracting officer at the rest stop on the appointed date. During this meeting, which was recorded by law enforcement, Hongthong gave the contracting officer $10,000 in cash. Hongthong told the contracting officer that he wanted to meet again to make additional payments.

In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Thompson sentenced Hongthong to three years supervised release, fined him $5,000 and ordered him to forfeit $10,000.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service Resident Agency in Edison, under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Christopher Fair; and the Army Criminal Investigation Command in Philadelphia, under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Carl Russ, with the investigation leading to this week's sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric M. Schweiker of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton. Joshua Markowitz Esq. of Trenton represented the defendant.

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