Former Veterans Affairs Official Sentenced To 18 Months In Federal Prison For Role In Bribery Scheme To Rig Federal Contracts
Dwane Nevins Took Cash Bribes and then Extorted Undercover Small Business Owners so that he could have his “Christmas”
DENVER – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn announced that former U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official Dwane Nevins, age 55, was sentenced to serve 18 months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release for corruption offenses. The FBI’s Denver Field Office and the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division, Central Field Office, joined in today’s announcement.
According to Court records, Dwane Nevins — a small business specialist at the VA’s Network Contracting Office in Colorado — agreed to take bribes offered by co-defendants Robert Revis, Anthony Bueno and an undercover FBI agent to help them manipulate the process for bidding on federal contracts with the VA. Revis and Bueno, working with Nevins, agreed to submit fraudulent bids from service-disabled-veteran-owned small businesses under contract with their consulting company so that federal contracts would be set aside for only those companies. As Bueno put it, the conspirators would then “own all the dogs on the track.” Nevins, Bueno and Revis worked to conceal the nature of the bribe payments by either kicking back to Nevins a portion of the payments made to their consulting company, or by asking their consulting company’s clients to pay Nevins for sham training classes related to federal contracting. At one of those sham trainings in Las Vegas, Nevada, Nevins accepted a $4,500 cash bribe from the undercover FBI agent.
After complaining about not being paid by Revis and Bueno for his participation in the scheme, Nevins used his official position at the VA to extort approximately $10,000 from an undercover FBI agent, telling the agent that “the train don’t go without me. You know what I mean? I’m the engine. I’m the caboose. I’m the engine room.” Nevins also told the undercover FBI agent “this is a business and businessmen need to get paid . . . . so I can have my Christmas, you know what I’m saying?”
Anthony Bueno was previously sentenced in this case to 30 months imprisonment. He was also sentenced to 63 months imprisonment for his role in a separately indicted wire fraud scheme in which he used false representations about investment opportunities to take over a million dollars from several victims.
Robert Revis pleaded guilty in April 2019 to an Information charging him with a single count of supplementing the salary of a federal official. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 2, 2020.
“Public corruption is one of my office’s top priorities,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “And when it comes at the expense of our veterans by someone that is supposed to be helping them, we will vigorously prosecute those corrupt actors.”
“Dwane Nevins abused his position of power as a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Small Business Advisor in order to personally benefit,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips. “The FBI is grateful for its partnerships with OIG - U.S. Veterans Administration, OIG – U.S. Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office which allowed the government to hold Mr. Nevins responsible for his actions.”
“This sentence should deter any government employee who hopes to unlawfully profit from their position of public trust,” said Gregg Hirstein, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. “Individuals and companies involved in corrupting the VA’s business practices will be held accountable.”
The case was jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, with substantial assistance from U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General.
The defendant was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bryan D. Fields and Hetal J. Doshi.