Romanian Citizens Arrested and Charged with Laundering $1.4 Million in Proceeds from Jewelry Thefts and Covid Fraud
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Assistant U. S. Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher (619) 546-9714 and Eric R. Olah (619) 546-7540
SAN DIEGO – Micheline Pollock, a citizen of Canada and resident of the United Kingdom, was sentenced in federal court today to time served, which amounts to approximately a 30-month term of imprisonment, for her role in a conspiracy to defraud the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the U.S. Navy Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) in connection with military and humanitarian construction projects across Africa. Chief U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw also ordered Pollock to pay more than $7 million in restitution.
As charged in a 98-count indictment, Pollock was the chief executive officer of Dover Vantage, a U.S. construction firm that had its primary office in Dubai and specialized in expeditionary projects in Africa. Between 2011 and 2018, Dover Vantage won construction contracts for USACE and NAVFAC projects in Africa, including a maternity ward and a school for the deaf in Togo, and a military aircraft hangar in Niger.
Pollock was arrested on September 22, 2020, in Tbilisi, Georgia by Georgian authorities based on a provisional arrest warrant issued at the request of the United States. Pollock was in custody for approximately nine-months before she was extradited to the United States on June 18, 2021. For their efforts in this case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California specially acknowledges the assistance provided by our international partners in Georgia, including the Office of the Prosecutor General of Georgia, Georgia Border Police, Isani Police Department, and the Isani Prosecutor’s Office.
Upon her extradition to the United States, Pollock entered a guilty plea to conspiring with others at Dover Vantage to defraud the United States. Pollock admitted in her plea agreement that she and her co-conspirators fraudulently represented that they had quality control plans and inspections, that they met these supposed quality control standards, and subsequently they falsely represented that work was done according to design specifications. As a result of the fraudulent conduct, many of the structures built by Dover Vantage were so poorly constructed that they collapsed, including an aircraft hangar in Niger and a training facility in Senegal.
"We will continue to combat fraud and corruption as the United States expends military and humanitarian resources across Africa,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. Grossman thanked the prosecution team and investigating agencies for their excellent work on this case.
“The special agents of the DoD Office of Inspector General's Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) will traverse the globe to bring individuals who threaten our nation's military readiness to justice,” said Stanley A. Newell, Special Agent-in-Charge of DCIS’s Transnational Operations Field Office. “DCIS and our partner agencies will continue to leverage a vast international law enforcement network to protect the integrity of the DoD procurement system.”
“Today's sentencing should serve as a stark reminder that our agents, and those of our partner law enforcement agencies, are relentless in their pursuit and capture of those who choose to defraud the United States Government anywhere in the world,” said Special Agent in Charge L. Scott Moreland of the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division’s Major Procurement Fraud Field Office.
This case arises out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Africa Strike Force initiative, developed to combat fraud and corruption as the United States expends military and humanitarian resources across Africa. For information about the second case prosecuted as a result of the initiative, please see https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdca/pr/us-navy-concrete-contractor-djibouti-admits-fraudulent-conduct-and-will-pay-more-125.
The case is being investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, European Post of Duty in Germany, and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Major Procurement Fraud Unit, European Fraud Resident Agency. Additional investigative assistance was provided domestically and internationally by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Substantial ongoing assistance in prosecuting this case has been provided by the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.
DEFENDANT Case Number 20-CR-3167-DMS
Micheline Pollock Age: 52 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
SUMMARY OF CHARGE
Conspiracy to Defraud the United States – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 371
Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service
Department of the Army, Criminal Investigative Command
Department of the Navy, Naval Investigative Service