A District employee and a technology consultant were charged with corruption Thursday after a raid on the former office of a former city official who now works for President Barack Obama.
The White House got a heads up before FBI agents raided the former offices of Vivek Kundra, a new Obama administration technology official, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
The tech office's information systems security officer, Yusuf Acar, and Sushil Bansal the head of a technology firm that did contracting for the District, were taken into custody Thursday morning and appeared in court Thursday afternoon. They are accused of bribery and money laundering. Investigators found $70,000 cash at Acar's Washington house, authorities said.
The Department of Justice told the White House Thursday morning about its planned raid at the offices of the District of Columbia's chief technology officer, Gibbs said. Kundra recently left that post to take the job in the White House.
Katherine Schweit, spokeswoman for the FBI's Washington field office, said the search is part of an ongoing investigation. Sources in the mayor's office told NBC4's Tom Sherwood that Kundra is not involved in Thursday's investigation.
Gibbs declined to say if administration officials knew about the ongoing investigation of the D.C. technology office when they hired Kundra.
Some documents were seized and some employees were told to go home, Sherwood reported. Other employees were secluded in rooms in the office building for questioning.
Acar is being held without bond because he is considered a flight risk. Bansal, of Dunn Loring, Va., was released on high security. He was ordered not to conduct overseas financial transactions or leave the Washington metropolitan area. Bansal is due back in court on April 21, and prosecutors said they were hopeful that a plea agreement could be reached in his case.
Acar, a 40-year-old native of Turkey, had a $127,468-a-year position purchasing the city's computer equipment and lining up contract workers for numerous city agencies. He and Bansal, along with others, defrauded the government through a variety of schemes, including billing the city for items that were never delivered and "ghost" contract employees who did not work, authorities said. The scheme involved falsifying bills and splitting the money with vendors who submitted them, court documents alleged.
The FBI worked with another employee in the city's technology office, who recorded conversations with Acar as part of the investigation.
President Obama selected Kundra earlier this month to help oversee the ability of government computer systems to speak to each other and security for vast federal information databanks.