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United States v. Salama Markus

United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage

July 16, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
John Alfay Salama MARKUS, Defendant.

          OPINION

          ROBERT B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         John Alfay Salama Markus sold confidential bidding information concerning U.S. government contracts in Iraq in exchange for kickbacks and bribes and did not report this income for the purposes of his taxes. Now the Government seeks to impose penalties for this failure to report and has moved for summary judgment. (ECF No. 31.) Markus, apparently impatient for a disposition, has since filed a “Motion for Final Decision” (ECF No. 58) and a “Motion to Return to FCI Fort Dix.” (ECF No. 59.) As Markus has not refuted the facts presented, nor does it appear he would be able to after pleading guilty to several crimes relating to this conspiracy, the Government's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED. As for Markus's other motions, neither are cognizable in this proceeding and they are, accordingly, DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         John Alfay Salama Markus, a U.S. citizen born in Egypt, was a combat engineer for the U.S. Army from around 2002 to 2005, during which time he was deployed to Iraq. (Pl. SUMF ¶¶ 1-3.) After leaving active duty, Markus worked for the Army Corps of Engineers as a project engineer, where he continued to be deployed to Iraq to aid in reconstruction efforts. (Id. ¶ 4.)

         Markus is embroiled in this civil litigation today because he accepted bribes and kickbacks in exchange for confidential bid information for an oil pipeline project. (Id. ¶ 5.) These bribes were offered by Ammar Al-Jobory and Ahmed Nouri, two Iraqi citizens. (Id. ¶ 12.) Markus deposited bribes in bank accounts in Egypt and Jordan, whose funds were subsequently transferred to his personal accounts in the United States. (Id. ¶¶ 6-7.) Some of these funds were spent on a house.

         A. The Accounts

         1. Banque Misr

         One account was with Banque Misr in Cairo, whose owner of record was Markus's father, Alfy Salama Marcos Basily. (Id. at ¶ 8-9.) The account number ended with -2393. (Id. ¶ 9.) Markus's brother held power of attorney over this account. (Id. ¶ 10.) Bribes were deposited into this account and were then forwarded on to Markus's accounts in the United States. (Id. ¶ 11.)

         The Government has presented irrefutable evidence of Markus's activities. On October 15, 2006, Markus emailed Al-Jobory for payment:

I did not receive the money till now can you check what is happen and let me know, I need to pay the money for the house. It is important to answer me I need the money ASAP.

(Id. ¶ 12; Ex. 151-SW.) Al-Jobory responded three days later that “[h]ere is the proof that the it [sic] has been there since the 10th of Oct.” (Id; Ex. 152-SW.) A deposit slip dated October 10, 2006 showed a deposit of $25, 000 into the account ending with -2393 and in the name of Marcos Basily, Markus's father. (Id.) Markus admits this deposit was made to him, even though his father's name is listed on the deposit slip as the account owner. (Id.; Markus Dep. 83:13-84:11.)

         On April 20, 2007, Markus emailed Nouri, directing him to deposit money paid for HVAC units into his father's Banque Misr account ending with -2393. (Id.) Markus has confessed that he accepted payment from Nouri and Al-Jobory. (Id. ¶ 13; Markus Dep. 85:4-11.) The Banque Misr account had sums far exceeding $10, 000 during 2007, 2009, and 2009, with deposits of $299, 000, $160, 000, and $100, 000 made in each of those years. (Id. ¶ 14.)

         Markus controlled this account and directed his brother to distribute funds from the account on his behalf, ostensibly, it seems, as payment to employees whose families lived outside war-torn Iraq. (Id; Markus Dep. 169:4-170:21.)

         2. Housing Bank Accounts

         Markus also had at least three accounts with the Housing Bank for Trade and Finance (the “Housing Bank”) in Jordan. As relevant, two accounts had funds in them for 2007 and one for 2009. (Id. ¶ 16.) These accounts ended, respectively, with -70220 (“Housing Bank I account”), -0201 (“Housing Bank II account”), and -80220 (Housing Bank III account”). (Id.) Markus deposited $200, 000 into his Housing Bank I account and $90, 000 into the Housing Bank II account in ...


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