Ex-CEO of New Jersey firm admits role in scheme to defraud government on overseas projects

Associated Press

The former president and CEO of a New Jersey-based engineering consulting firm has admitted his role in a scheme to overcharge the U.S. government for reconstruction projects overseas, including Afghanistan.

Federal prosecutors say 79-year-old Derish Wolff, of Bernardsville, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims. He faces 10 years in prison when he's sentenced in March.

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Prosecutors say the scheme involving the Morristown-based Louis Berger Group defrauded the U.S. Agency for International Development out of billions of dollars in contracts for nearly 20 years.

Wolff conspired to defraud USAID by billing the agency on so-called "cost-reimbursable" contracts for the company's overhead and other indirect costs at falsely inflated rates.

Prosecutors say the scheme was carried out by numerous LBG employees at Wolff's direction.