New York - A New York resident pleaded guilty Friday to 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 Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge Leo Lamont of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s (NCIS) Northeast Field Office.
Edwin D. Fragoso, 45, of Freeport, New York, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary R. Brown of the Eastern District of New York. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 9, 2019 before U.S. District Judge Sandra J. Feurstein of the Eastern District of New York.
According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, Fragoso agreed with NEX supervisory sales associate Eric J. Jex to arrange repeated large purchases of liquor from the NEX at Mitchel Field in Garden City, New York. Official policies limited access to the NEX’s goods to authorized personnel, including Navy service members, and required NEX employees to confirm purchasers’ identities. Over more than a year, until December 2016, Fragoso paid Jex over $95,000 in cash bribes to make unauthorized purchases of NEX liquor at significant discounts. He ultimately resold the liquor purchased from the NEX for profit.
On Aug. 1, 2017, Jex pleaded guilty to accepting more than $250,000 in cash bribes from Fragoso and two other individuals, Adam Agaev and David Manasherov. Agaev and Manasherov each pleaded guilty to conspiracy on Jan. 7, 2019, and are pending sentencing on Sept. 24, 2019.
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 Attorney Jessica C. Harvey is prosecuting the case.