Former Army colonel pleads guilty to role in Fort Gordon fraud, kickback scheme
Defendant took bribes to help secure contracts for phony disadvantaged business
AUGUSTA, Ga: A former active-duty U.S. Army colonel has pled guilty to accepting bribes in return for helping steer military contracts to a business fraudulently claiming status as a small business.
Anthony R. Williams, 58, of Vienna, Va., pled guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery and felony conflict of interest in U.S. District Court, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
Williams faces a sentence of up to five years in prison, and has agreed to forfeit more than $1.2 million in proceeds derived from the scheme.
According to court documents and evidence entered during court proceedings, Williams, while serving as a colonel in the U.S. Army, accepted bribes to steer federal procurement contracts to the CREC Group, a company owned by Calvin Devear Lawyer, 60, a retired U.S. Army colonel. The CREC Group had received Small Business Administration (SBA) status as a small, disadvantaged business based on false representations from Lawyer and from Dwayne Oswald Fulton, 58, then an employee of a defense contractor.
Lawyer previously pled guilty in the case and is serving a 60-month prison sentence, while co-conspirator, Anthony Roper, 57, a former active duty U.S. Army colonel at Fort Gordon, also pled guilty and is serving a 60-month sentence.
The cases were investigated by the United States Army Criminal Investigations Division (CID), the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General, and the United States Attorney’s Office.
“This investigation rooted out a significant conspiracy to defraud taxpayers by stealing money appropriated for the operation of our nation’s military services,” said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “It is particularly disappointing when members of the armed forces violate their oaths of office to line their own pockets, and our office will prosecute those crimes vigorously.”
“This guilty plea highlights the effectiveness of Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) investigations to ensure that Department of Defense programs and missions are protected from fraud and corruption,” said Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, DCIS Southeast Field Office. “This defendant was part of an egregious conspiracy perpetrated by several former U.S. Army officers and contracting officials who deliberately corrupted the DoD procurement process to steal precious taxpayer dollars for their own personal gain. In concert with our law enforcement partners, DCIS aggressively pursues criminal prosecutions to bring violators to justice to face the consequences of their actions.”
“This guilty plea affirms that contract fraud directed at our government will not be tolerated,” said Frank Robey, director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit. “Stealing money through fraud violates federal law, corrodes the trust within the contracting community, and threatens the readiness of our soldiers. We will continue to vigorously investigate fraud that targets our government contracting system.”
“Those who conspire to commit fraud against SBA and its programs will be brought to justice,” said SBA OIG's Eastern Region Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kupperbusch. “The actions of the defendant and his fellow conspirators denied other small businesses the opportunity to gain access to federal contracting opportunities. 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.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian T. Rafferty is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.