New York - Three New York residents were indicted Tuesday in two separate indictments for providing cash bribes to an employee of the U.S. Department of the Navy to make unauthorized liquor purchases at a Navy Exchange (NEX), announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Adam Agaev, 43, and David Manasherov, 37, both of Brooklyn, New York, were charged together in a nine-count indictment, and Edwin D. Fragoso, 44, of Freeport, New York, was charged in a six-count indictment, all in the Eastern District of New York. 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. Manasherov was charged with tampering with an official proceeding and destruction of evidence subject to a federal search warrant. Fragoso was charged with making false statements to law enforcement agents.
Eric J. Jex, 29, of Uniondale, New York, an employee of the U.S. Department of the Navy who received the bribes, previously pleaded guilty to one count of bribery before U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert of 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, New York, 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 in the indictments filed today, from approximately Nov. 13, 2015, through Dec. 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 accepted more than $250,000 in cash bribes, typically $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.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Criminal Investigations Division investigated the case. Trial Attorneys Luke Cass and Andrew Laing of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting the case with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.