Kingsville CEO admits to bribing Aberdeen Proving Ground biochemist researcher in exchange for government contracts

BALTIMORE, MD—A Kingsville CEO has pleaded guilty to bribing a researcher at Aberdeen Proving Ground in exchange for government contracts.  John R. Conigliaro, 60, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to bribe a public official.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dillard of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service – Mid-Atlantic Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge L. Scott Moreland of the Army Criminal Investigation Division.

Conigliaro is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of EISCO, Inc. EISCO provides general construction services, including fixed and portable biochemical laboratories.

According to his guilty plea, from 2012 to 2019, Conigliaro bribed an Army Research Biologist who worked at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Chemical Biological Center (CB Center), located on Aberdeen Proving Ground, in Maryland. The CCDC CB Center is the nation’s principal research and development center for non-medical chemical and biological weapons defense. The CB Center develops technology in the areas of detection, protection, and decontamination. Conigliaro bribed the biologist with a stream of benefits including cash loans, payments for renovations to rental properties owned by the researcher, payments for renovations to the researcher’s personal residence, and other things of value in exchange for influencing CB Center projects to EISCO.

In October 2013, after EISCO received its first payment of $150,000 for a government project, Conigliaro gave cash and a $40,000 zero-interest loan to the biologist to finance the purchase of two rental properties. Once the Army researcher purchased the rental properties, Conigliaro paid for thousands of dollars of renovations to the rental properties. The researcher then executed a “Promissory Note,” in which he wrote that he repaid Conigliaro a portion of the funds that Conigliaro had given him with CB Center projects.

From 2016 to 2018, the biologist directed three CB Center projects to EISCO. During the performance of one of those projects, Conigliaro spent approximately half of the time not performing work but being “on call.” Over that same time period, Conigliaro paid for more than $30,000 in renovations to the researcher’s personal residence, including more than more than $20,000 to renovate his kitchen, and more than $16,000 to replace the siding on his personal residence.

According to the guilty plea, from July 2012 to 2019, Conigliaro paid more than $95,000 in bribes to the biologist and over that same time period, the researcher directed more than $1 million of contract awards to EISCO.

Conigliaro faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison followed by up to three of supervised release for conspiracy to bribe a public official. U.S. District Judge Deborah L. Boardman has scheduled sentencing for May 10, 2022, at 10 a.m.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

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