Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect the amount of federally funded contracts Marler and Lawrence allegedly rigged.
Federal authorities arrested a University of Guam researcher and faculty member Tuesday on charges he conspired to rig bids and steer about $190,000 in federally funded contracts to two businesses including one he and his then-wife had a financial interest in.
A federal indictment accuses Thomas E. Marler, who is a professor at UOG's College of Natural & Applied Sciences, of rigging bids to favor Isla Paraiso, and a second company, Sansar Environmental Consulting.
Jayanika Lawrence, who obtained the business license for Sansar Environmental Consulting, has been charged in the same indictment.
The grand jury returned the indictment on July 8 against Marler and Lawrence but the case was kept confidential until it was unsealed on Tuesday.
Marler and Lawrence face charges of conspiracy to restrain trade, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Federal authorities also are seeking foreclosure on their assets.
The indictment alleges the two conspired between 2013 and around June 2015 to submit bogus bids and obtain UOG federally funded projects through noncompetitive rigged bids, court documents state. Court documents outline numerous contracts awarded to either Isla Paraiso or Sansar Environmental in that nearly two-year time frame.
The funds came from the Navy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Marler allegedly prepared and submitted bid proposals on behalf of Sasar Environmental Consulting. He is also accused of submitting false bid proposals on behalf of other vendors, who weren’t even aware bids were being submitted on their behalf.
Even though he was the principal investigator for the federally funded projects, Marler allegedly caused and submitted all bid proposals and allocated the awards to either Isla Paraiso or Sasar Environmental Consulting, in violation of UOG’s conflict of interest regulations and the federal competitive bid process.
Through the course of the investigation, federal authorities uncovered electronic fund deposits into bank accounts belonging to Marler’s ex-wife, who was not named in the indictment and who wasn't charged.
'I made those up'
They also uncovered email communication including one message from Marler to Lawrence regarding vendor quotes in May 2015. The email stated, “…In the past I made those up but I need to stop doing that,” court documents state.
Another email message from Marler to Lawrence dealt with payments to be made as a bonus to Lawrence’s family, but the government alleges Marler knew the source of the payments was from UOG federally funded projects.
Lawrence is accused of failing to disclose that she was awarded federally funded projects for work in which she submitted no written, signed bid proposals, the indictment states.
According to the indictment, various unnamed companies and individuals, who were not charged in the indictment, participated as co-conspirators.
The indictment alleges payoffs were made to one another in return for suppressing competition for certain UOG projects. Steps were taken to conceal the conspiracy and conspiratorial contracts, conversations and communications through various means, according to the indictment.
The government has requested a summons be issued for Lawrence, who is believed to be residing in Seattle, Washington.
UOG Communications Director Jonas Macapinlac said the university will issue a response today.