Indian American MTA supervisor pleads guilty to obstructing investigation into bid rigging and fraud

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Paresh Patel, a former supervisor at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York City, pleaded guilty to obstructing a federal investigation into bid-rigging and fraud. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years. Patel, 59, of Paramus, New Jersey, surrendered to federal authorities on Feb. 18. He is said to be working with the MTA since 1987.

According to a Department of Justice press release, Patel was a program manager at the MTA and was responsible for awarding contracts and exercising oversight of Superstorm Sandy-related subway repairs.

In June 2014, Patel and another MTA employee set up an engineering consulting firm named Satkirti Consulting Engineering LLC., in order to bid on MTA repair work after Hurricane Sandy devastated the New York and New Jersey region in 2012. Because MTA rules prohibited them from having an interest in such a company, they registered the company in the names of their children, and then transferred the ownership to a friend of Patel, who, the DOJ press release said “played no substantive role in the management of Satkirti.”

After getting a contract as a subcontractor on the Joralemon Tube subway rehabilitation project, which project Patel would oversee in his role at the MTA, he instructed Satkirti Consulting employees to delete his emails and the company’s email account after learning he was being probed by the MTA’s Inspector General. Patel ordered the company’s dissolution in January 2016.

In January, the MTA's new inspector general, Carolyn Pokorny, along with the Manhattan Attorney General's Office, announced that a former Metro-North Railroad contract manager had been charged with bid-rigging and other fraudulent activity in connection with contract awards for the Metro-North commuter rail system. The investigation also resulted in the indictments of two private-sector executives.

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