RUTLAND. The Florida resident admitted to receiving bribes and kickbacks worth $ 2.5 million from companies seeking contracts to work on energy conservation projects in federal buildings, including the Department of Veterans Affairs facilities in White River Junction.
Bhaskar Patel, 67, of Windermere, Florida, pleaded guilty in federal court in Rutland on Monday to two felony charges, each with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. He remains under recognizance not to leave until the hearing on December 7. Judge Jeffrey Crawford said federal probation officials would conduct a preliminary investigation before he formally sentenced Patel. As part of the plea agreement, federal prosecutors filed a plea plea. a notice of confiscation from Patel totaling $ 2,536,119. The plea agreement states that prosecutors agreed to reduce the seized amount to $ 1.75 million if Patel pays $ 950,000 before sentencing. He also faces a fine of up to $ 5,072,238.38, which is double his illegally obtained income.
Items that federal prosecutors are trying to seize as part of the confiscation include his property in Windermere; 2012 Mercedes-Benz E Class E350; Clock; six rings; 43 earrings; 10 bracelets; 18 bracelets; six pendants – $ 35,700 in Indian rupees; and a timeshare property in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
David Haas, an Orlando, Florida-based attorney representing Patel, declined to comment on the case after Monday’s hearing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Abigail Averbach, the prosecutor in the case, said charges against others involved in the case are possible, although she declined to disclose who the people might be. Court records do show that in some cases Patel ordered payers to write checks to his grown son and daughter.