August 17, 2009 By News Report
A bribery scheme in Washington, D.C.'s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) has netted its first guilty plea.
Sarosh Mir, an employee for a technology contracting firm, late last week admitted he had falsified invoices sent to the D.C. government in pleading guilty in federal court to one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud, according to local media. He charged the district for employees who didn't actually work.
Mir was the fourth person charged. Yusuf Acar, the acting information systems security officer of OCTO; Farrukh Awan, another D.C. employee; and Sushil Bansal, CEO of Advanced Integrated Technologies Corp., were arrested in March and held on bribery charges and related offenses. Mir reportedly worked for Bansal. Authorities said the men had steered contracts and falsified invoices.
D.C. officials said the fraud cost the city at least $500,000.
The scandal first erupted in March, only days after President Barack Obama named Washington, D.C., Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra the nation's first-ever federal CIO. The Obama administration briefly put Kundra on administrative leave, pending the investigation. Kundra was reinstated after the FBI concluded he wasn't involved in the corruption.
Chris Willey is Washington, D.C.'s interim chief technology officer.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.