The federal and local governments offer a variety of set-aside contracts that are aimed at helping minorities and other disadvantaged groups succeed in an arguably uneven society. However, it is important that the government maintains the integrity of these programs by properly screening the applicants and winners of these contracts, in Ohio and elsewhere. On the other hand, this could cause authorities to be overzealous when looking for potential white collar crimes, such as fraud, among applicants for government funds.
This may be the case with a local civil engineering firm, TesTech, which is currently being investigated for potentially fraudulent business ties. Authorities had recently seized documents from the firm which showed the company owner’s concerns that his ties with a wealthy developer and his wife could be seen as fraudulent. In a civil hearing in April, TesTech was removed from a set-aside contract designed for independent minority entrepreneurs. Allegedly, the wealthy developer and his wife attempted to distance themselves from TesTech, though TesTech told the government that it operated independently of them.
This is a problem because the wealthy developer and his wife were not eligible for the government contracts. Documents seized were memos written by the owner of TesTech. In a recent hearing on the matter, the memos were repeatedly referenced. The Hearing Officer ultimately found that the memos were valid evidence of attempted fraud by the owner of the civil engineering firm. This is a concern for the firm’s owner, since it could lead to a variety of legal difficulties.
Concealing the true ownership of a firm in an attempt to qualify for a federal contract could result in criminal charges which, if proved in court, may result in conviction of serious white collar crimes. The owner of the Ohio firm may face steep fines and restitution if he is ultimately convicted of criminal wrongdoing. He may also be excluded from all future government contracts. In the worst case scenario of a conviction, the owner of the company could be sentenced to time behind bars. In a case as serious as this, it may be best to seek assistance at the earliest juncture in order to safeguard important legal rights and fight for a just conclusion.
Source: Dayton Daily News, “Owner in probe warned of ‘fraudulent’ business ties,” Tom Beyerlein, Oct. 24, 2012