Chief Executive Officer of Armored Vehicle Company Convicted of Defrauding the United States
A federal jury convicted the owner and chief executive officer of an armored vehicle company for his role in a scheme to provide the U.S. Department of Defense with armored gun trucks that did not meet ballistic and blast protection requirements set out in the company’s contracts with the United States.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle of the Western District of Virginia; Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Lee of the FBI’s Richmond, Virginia Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Craig Jr. of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office, made the announcement.
William Whyte, 72, of King City, Ontario, the owner and CEO of Armet Armored Vehicles of Danville, Virginia, was found guilty after a two-week trial of three counts of major fraud against the United States, three counts of wire fraud and three counts of criminal false claims. Whyte was charged by an indictment in July 2012. Following the verdict, Senior U.S. District Judge Jackson L. Kiser of the Western District of Virginia, who presided over the trial, remanded Whyte into custody pending a full bond hearing. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.
Evidence at trial demonstrated that Whyte executed a scheme to defraud the United States by providing armored gun trucks that were deliberately underarmored. According to the trial evidence, Armet contracted to provide armored gun trucks for use by the United States and its allies as part of the efforts to rebuild Iraq in 2005. Despite providing armored gun trucks that did not meet contractual specifications, Whyte and his employees represented that the armored gun trucks were adequately armored in accordance with the contract, the evidence showed. Armet was paid over $2 million over the course of the scheme, including an $824,000 advance payment that the United States made after Whyte personally promised the United States that he would use the money in furtherance of the contract, the evidence showed.
The case was investigated by DCIS and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Caitlin Cottingham of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Carlton of the Western District of Virginia.