Three New York residents were indicted for bribing an employee of the US Navy to make unauthorized liquor purchases worth millions of dollars at a Navy Exchange (NEX), the US Justice Department said.
Adam Agaev, 43, and David Manasherov, 37, both of Brooklyn, were charged together in a nine-count indictment, and Edwin D. Fragoso, 44, of Freeport, in a six-count indictment.
Agaev and Manasherov allegedly purchased liquor worth over $5 million, and Fragoso purchased over $1.3 million of liquor, over the course of the scheme. In addition to bribery, the defendants were also charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, and honest services fraud.
Eric J. Jex, 29, of Uniondale, an employee of the navy, received more than $250,000 in bribes. He previously pleaded guilty to one count of bribery before the Eastern District of New York and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 11.
According to admissions made in connection with Jex’s guilty plea, as a supervisory sales associate at the NEX at Mitchel Field in Garden City, Jex was responsible for preparing and processing retail transactions, and he had direct authority to make decisions concerning large liquor orders and shipments from the NEX’s warehouse in Suffolk, Virginia. He was also subject to policies limiting access to the NEX’s goods to authorized personnel, such as navy service members, and requiring NEX employees to check purchasers’ IDs.
According to the allegations, from November 13, 2015, through December 13, 2016, Jex agreed with Agaev, Manasherov and Fragoso to arrange repeated large purchases of liquor from the NEX. Jex allowed these three unauthorized purchasers to buy NEX liquor at significant discounts. According to his plea agreement, Jex admitted that, in exchange, he typically accepted $5 to $20 per case of liquor.
In doing so, the indictments allege that Agaev, Manasherov and Fragoso caused interstate wires to be sent from New York to Virginia, deprived New York State of excise taxes and resold the liquor purchased from the NEX for profit, according to the Department of Justice.