Former Company Executive Sentenced to Over Four Years in Federal Prison for Construction Fraud Scheme
Columbia, SC - United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that Thomas Brock, age 62, of Camden, South Carolina, was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud.
According to information presented during his guilty plea and sentencing, Brock was involved in a decade-long scheme to defraud the government in the acquisition of military construction contracts. Under programs instituted by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), certain military and federal government contracts are specifically set aside for award to minorities, women, and service veterans. These programs are intended to provide small businesses with an opportunity for growth and experience working through the federal government.
Brock was an executive with Boykin Contracting and used various straw-owners within the company to pose as a female, an African-American, a disabled person, and a veteran in order to qualify for over $160 million dollars’ worth of these government construction contracts. Based on information presented in court, Brock illegally acquired the contracts and siphoned money from the company to support a lavish lifestyle. The scheme fell apart when Brock fraudulently acquired loans to cover the company’s losses and fell behind on the repayments, prompting a civil lawsuit and a criminal investigation.
United States District Judge J. Michelle Childs of Columbia sentenced Brock to 51 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Companies who wish to obtain federal contracts set aside for businesses run by women, minorities, veterans, or those with disabilities must play by the rules,” said U.S. Attorney Lydon. “We will not tolerate those who cheat the system for their own gain, victimizing the government, the companies who should have received these valuable benefits, and the American taxpayer.”
“Providing false statements to obtain federal contracts set aside for small businesses owned and operated by disadvantaged individuals and our nation’s veterans will be met with justice,” said SBA Inspector General Hannibal “Mike” Ware. “Today’s sentencing sends a strong message that those responsible will be held accountable. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their support and dedication to pursuing justice in this case.”
"This sentencing is the product of a thorough investigation and demonstrates the commitment of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and our law enforcement partners to hold corrupt contractors accountable when they scam small businesses owned by veterans and other disadvantaged individuals,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Craig, Jr., DCIS Mid-Atlantic Field Office. “DCIS will continue to protect the integrity of the Department of Defense by rooting out fraud, waste, and abuse that negatively impacts the welfare of men and women who have served, and continue to serve, our nation."
"This sentencing is the culmination of more than five years of investigative work by our agents and our law enforcement partners," said Frank Robey, director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command's Major Procurement Fraud Unit. "Abusing the laws established to protect small businesses and businesses owned by disabled veterans to line your pockets is truly disgraceful."
The case was investigated primarily by the SBA, DCIS, and VA and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney T. DeWayne Pearson of the Columbia office.