Georgia company posing as disadvantaged paid bribe of at least $1.2 million.
A retired Army colonel faces five years in prison after pleading guilty last week to accepting bribes while stationed at Ft. Gordon in Georgia from a company that falsely claimed to qualify as a disadvantaged small business.
Anthony Williams, 58, now of Vienna, Va., according to a March 21 Justice Department release, agreed to forfeit $1.2 million in illicit proceeds.
“This investigation rooted out a significant conspiracy to defraud taxpayers by stealing money appropriated for the operation of our nation’s military services,” Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine said. “It is particularly disappointing when members of the armed forces violate their oaths of office to line their own pockets, and our office will prosecute those crimes vigorously.”
The Augusta, Ga., company, the CREC Group, had received Small Business Administration certification as veteran-owned based on false information from two other retired Army colonels. Calvin Lawyer, 60, and Dwayne Fulton, 58, the latter an employee of a defense contractor, earlier pleaded guilty and are both serving 60-month prison terms.
The cases were investigated by the Army Criminal Investigations Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General, and the local U.S. Attorney’s Office. The case was highlighted by the Defense Department’s inspector general.
“The actions of the defendant and his fellow conspirators denied other small businesses the opportunity to gain access to federal contracting opportunities,” SBA IG Eastern Region Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kupperbusch said.