Navy kickbacks leader who pleaded guilty to appeal

AP News
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Posted: Nov 08, 2013 3:27 PM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A former civilian Navy employee who pleaded guilty to leading an $18 million kickback scheme has told a federal court in Rhode Island that he plans to appeal his conviction and 10-year prison sentence.

A lawyer for Ralph M. Mariano filed a notice Thursday that he plans to appeal to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The notice does not specify on what grounds he plans to appeal, and Mariano's lawyer, John Calcagni, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Mariano, 55, was sentenced last week for using Georgia-based Navy contractor Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow, or ASFT, to funnel kickbacks to himself and others over a period of 15 years. Mariano worked for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport and was most recently assigned to the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters in Washington, living in South Arlington, Va.

He is one of six people to plead guilty in the scheme.

In May, Mariano agreed to a deal with federal prosecutors in which he would plead guilty to conspiracy, theft of government property and tax evasion. As part of the agreement, he waived his right to appeal.

In exchange, the U.S. attorney's office in Rhode Island agreed to recommend a more lenient sentence for Mariano, provided he "continues to demonstrate acceptance of responsibility through sentencing," according to the agreement. During sentencing last week, they told the judge Mariano had not done that.

Instead, prosecutors said Mariano had explicitly denied the scheme in a series of complaints he sent to the judge and the U.S. Justice Department about prosecutorial misconduct. That prompted the office to recommend a sentence of more than 10 years in prison.

Mariano's lawyer challenged prosecutors' right to do that under the terms of the plea agreement, but the judge agreed that Mariano had not upheld his agreement to take responsibility.

Mariano is currently free on bond and has been ordered to report to prison Nov. 26. Patrick Nagle, a former ASFT employee from Marietta, Ga., who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, is due to be sentenced next week in U.S. District Court in Providence.