An Indian-origin former manager for a suburban bus agency has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for pocketing nearly USD 300,000 in gratuities and kickbacks from contractors.
Rajinder Sachdeva, 54 of Schaumburg, Chicago, used his position as a department manager at the agency from 2010 to 2014 to corruptly demand the money in gratuities and kickbacks from IT contractors.
Sachdeva demanded and accepted nearly USD 300,000 from the contractors and in exchange he exerted his influence to hire or continue to engage the contractors at Pace, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch said.
Sachdeva concealed this arrangement from the agency by having the payments flow through companies that he controlled. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of solicitation of bribes and gratuities by an agent of a federally funded organisation.
"Public corruption is a significant problem in this district, and the defendant's corrupt behaviour is the type that erodes the public's confidence in public agencies," Assistant US Attorneys Matthew Madden and Erika Csicsila argued in the government's sentencing memorandum.
"The defendant repeatedly used his position at a transportation agency to line his own pockets."
Sachdeva served as the Department Manager of Applications for Pace, which is the suburban bus division of the Regional Transportation Authority.
In that role, he oversaw the implementation of information technology used by Pace to support its various business units, such as human resources, accounting, purchasing, payments, and grant writing.
Pace contracted with outside vendors who provided on-site and remote IT support to Pace, and Sachdeva ultimately supervised those contractors and reviewed and approved their timesheets.
In exchange for the influence he exerted in placing or maintaining certain IT contractors at Pace, Sachdeva solicited and received $292,708 in gratuities and kickbacks from the contractors.