Former President Of Vonetex LLC Admits Paying Kickbacks In Connection With TSA Contract For High-Tech Phone Systems
TRENTON, N.J. - The former president of Vonetex LLC today admitted that he paid nearly $100,000 in kickbacks to benefit himself under a subcontract to a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) contract for high-tech phone systems.
Neil Metzger, 41, of Leesburg, Va., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp to an information charging him with conspiracy to pay kickbacks in connection with a government contract.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Metzger was the president of Vonetex, 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 for work on the contract. James Anderson, 55, of Gainsville, Ga., was a project manager at Unisys who managed work performed pursuant to the contract. Vickie Idoux-Walz, 48, of Gainsville, Ga., was in a romantic relationship with Anderson, but was not an employee of Vonetex, Unisys, or Izar.
Metzger admitted that in November 2008 he agreed to provide kickback payments to Anderson through Idoux-Walz equal to $5 or $10 per hour that each Vonetex employee and contractor billed to the contract.
In December 2008, Metzger entered into a written agreement with Idoux-Walz in which Vonetex agreed to 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.
Metzger admitted that he paid a total of approximately $97,850 in kickbacks to Anderson through Idoux-Walz. 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.
The count of conspiracy to pay kickbacks in connection with a government contract to which Metzger pleaded carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Metzger has also agreed to pay the government $100,000 in restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for April 22, 2014.
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.
Defense counsel: Michael Sullivan Esq., Morristown, N.J., and Danny Onorato Esq., Washington, D.C.