Prime Contractor Employee At U.S. Military Bases Admits $1.4 Million Fraud And Taking Kickbacks
NEWARK, N.J. – A Pennsylvania man employed as a regional manager for a contractor involved with construction projects at Picatinny Arsenal (PICA) and at Joint Base McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst (Ft. Dix) admitted today his role in a fraud scheme that caused losses of $1.4 million, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
James Conway, 45, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud and one count of accepting unlawful kickbacks.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From September 2009 to August 2015, Conway secretly owned a company called Walsh Construction Services, LLC (Walsh Construction), which purported to provide construction services. Using his position as regional manager for a construction contractor, Conway steered subcontracts to Walsh Construction for jobs at PICA and Ft. Dix. To conceal his ownership of Walsh Construction, Conway signed the subcontracts as Keith Walsh, the purported owner or vice president of Walsh Construction. There was, in fact, no person by that name who owned or was the vice president of Walsh Construction.
Conway used Walsh Construction to obtain payments from the construction contractor by submitting invoices and bills on behalf of Walsh Construction for work purportedly performed at PICA and Ft. Dix. Many of the invoices and bills included charges for work that Walsh Construction only partially did, or for work that was not performed at all by Walsh Construction, causing losses of $1.4 million.
Conway also accepted kickbacks totaling $180,345, from four subcontractors who served as subcontractors to the contractor on various construction projects at PICA and Ft. Dix knowing that the subcontractors expected, in return, to obtain favorable treatment from Conway.
The wire fraud charge to which Conway pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The charge for accepting unlawful kickbacks to which Conway pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. Both charges carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss associated with the offense, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 30, 2016.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher; the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Craig Rupert; and the U.S. Army, Major Procurement Fraud Unit, Criminal Investigation Command, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Larry Scott Moreland, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara R. Llanes and Senior Litigation Counsel Leslie Faye Schwartz of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: James Friedman Esq., New Brunswick, New Jersey