An Ashburn, Va.-based U.S. Marshals Service contractor, which allegedly retaliated in 2010 against an employee who claimed the agency mismanaged millions of dollars in seized assets, received the biggest federal contracting award for legal work from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2012.
Forfeiture Support Associates LLC (FSA), a joint venture of Engility Corp. and AECOM Technology Corp., during those past five fiscal years was awarded more than two-thirds of a billion dollars — $686.6 million — for providing clerical, financial and legal services to the Marshals Service and other U.S. Justice Department agencies as part of the DOJ’s Asset Forfeiture Program. The sum constitutes about 21 percent of all funds awarded for legal work from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2012.
Brian Aryai, a senior forfeiture financial specialist at FSA from 2009 to 2010, filed a whistleblower suit against the company and the Marshals Service in 2010, alleging that his employer fired him that year after he said the Marshals Service Complex Asset Team undervalued millions of dollars in assets. Aryai said the team’s leader, Leonard Briskman, owned an appraisal company and regularly selected buyers through his "business contacts." The team handles complex assets taken from criminal defendants, including Bernard Madoff.FSA denied that it retaliated against Aryai. Weiner & Weiner attorney Josh Weiner, who represents Aryai, said FSA and his client have "amicably resolved" the suit.
FSA, which has more than 1,500 employees in more than 450 U.S. government offices, has had a contract to assist the DOJ Asset Forfeiture Program since 2004. The contract was most recently renewed in March 2011 for $1.7 billion over seven years. "This is a nationwide contract that provides forfeiture support services to more than 300 federal law enforcement offices nationwide to include, for example, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Attorneys, and the U.S. Marshals Service," said DOJ spokeswoman Gina Talamona. "The Department relies on this contract to meet a variety of needs in a flexible and efficient manner." — Andrew Ramonas