Former Unisys Engineer And Girlfriend Admit Receiving Nearly $100,000 In Kickbacks In Connection With TSA High-Tech Phone Contract
Third Defendant, Former President of Vonetex LLC, Will be Sentenced for Paying Kickbacks
TRENTON, N.J. - A former project manager for Unisys and his girlfriend today admitted they were paid nearly $100,000 in kickbacks in connection with staffing a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) contract for high-tech phone systems, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
James Anderson, 55, and Vickie Idoux-Walz, 48, both of Gainesville, Ga., pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp to separate informations charging them with conspiracy to solicit and accept kickbacks in connection with a government contract. Neil Metzger, 41, of Leesburg, Va., was the president of Vonetex LLC, and has already pleaded guilty. He will be sentenced tomorrow.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Vonetex is a technical services and training company. Unisys, a government contractor, won a contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that included the installation and servicing of high-tech phone services for the TSA. Vonetex was awarded a subcontract through an intermediary company, Izar Associates Inc.
Vonetex was paid, through Izar, for each hour that its employees and contractors billed under the contract. Anderson was an engineer and a project manager at Unisys who supervised the contracted work. Idoux-Walz was in a romantic relationship with Anderson, but was not an employee of Vonetex, Unisys, or Izar.
Anderson admitted that in November 2008, he agreed with Metzger to accept kickback payments, paid through Idoux-Walz, that were equal to $5 or $10 per hour that each Vonetex employee and contractor billed to the contract.
Idoux-Walz admitted that in December 2008 she and Metzger entered into a written agreement in which Vonetex would pay Idoux-Walz a fee for consulting services. The agreement also stated that for each hour billed by a Vonetex resource at Unisys, Idoux-Walz was to be given credits which could be used for discounts on additional work or equipment, or redeemed for cash. Each month, Idoux-Walz sent Metzger an invoice based on hours billed by Vonetex employees and contractors, and Metzger periodically sent kickback checks to Idoux-Walz with the understanding that the money represented the kickback payments Metzger had agreed to pay Anderson.
Anderson and Idoux-Walz together received a total of $97,850 in kickbacks from Metzger.
The count of conspiracy to accept kickbacks in connection with a government contract to which Anderson and Idoux-Walz pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Metzger pleaded guilty on Jan. 14, 2014, to conspiring to pay kickbacks in connection with a government contract. Metzger also admitted that he made false claims against the government in the form of overbilling in June and July 2010, which resulted in a loss to the government of approximately $100,000. Metzger has entered a plea agreement with the government in which all parties agreed to a sentence of 15 months in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow before Judge Shipp in Trenton.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory K. Null, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Clabby of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Trenton.
James Anderson: Andrea Bergman Esq., Trenton, N.J.
Vickie Idoux-Walz: Joshua Markowitz Esq., Lawrenceville, N.J.
Neil Metzger: Michael Sullivan Esq., Morristown, N.J., and Danny Onorato Esq., Washington, D.C.