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Ex-CEO sentenced for scheme involving Iraq, Afghanistan work

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A former engineering consulting company CEO who schemed to overcharge the U.S. government for reconstruction projects for nearly 20 years was sentenced Friday.

Derish Wolff, who pleaded guilty to leading the overbilling conspiracy, will serve 12 months of home confinement and will be required to pay a $4.5 million fine.

The 79-year-old Bernardsville resident worked for Morristown-based Louis Berger Group.

Some of the company’s contracts involved reconstruction projects in Iraq and Afghanistan for the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, which advances U.S. foreign policy in developing countries and countries destabilized by war.

Federal prosecutors contend the company padded work hours to make it appear employees had spent time on the government contracts when they had not. Wolff instructed subordinates to charge USAID for expenses unrelated to the projects, such as rent for offices in Washington, D.C., prosecutors said.

The conspiracy started in 1990 and ended in 2009, they said.

Two other Berger employees pleaded guilty in 2010 to conspiracy to defraud the government. The Berger Group agreed to make full restitution to USAID and pay about $70 million in civil and criminal penalties.

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