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Press Release

Government Contractor Sentenced to 24 Months Imprisonment forMajor Fraud against the United States

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Tennessee

Memphis, TN – A local man has been sentenced to 24 months in federal prison for major fraud against the United States. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee announced the sentence today.

According to information presented in court, M. Cleve Collins, aka Milton Cleve Collins aka Cleve Collins, 54, executed a scheme to defraud the United States on a construction contract valued at approximately one and one-half million dollars administered by the General Services Administration for the replacement of the roof and the air conditioning system at the Ed Jones Federal Courthouse and Post Office in Jackson, TN.

As part of the scheme to defraud, Collins caused the roofing subcontractor, a small Memphis-area business, to perform work for which it was never fully paid. Additionally, Collins filed false and fraudulent certifications with the US Government indicating he had, in fact, paid the subcontractor. The value of the funds obtained because of this scheme was over $580,000.

"As the legal representative of the United States of America, it is the priority and duty of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to safeguard taxpayer funds, and to promote the responsible use and stewardship of such government resources for the benefit of our nation and our citizens. The major fraud committed by the defendant in this case is a serious crime of dishonesty and deceit that strikes at the very heart of those national interests and will not be tolerated. The GSA and the FBI are to be commended for their diligent investigative work in uncovering and exposing this fraud, and I am pleased that we have achieved justice by holding the defendant accountable under the law," said D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.

On September 4, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr. sentenced Collins to 24 months imprisonment; 3 years supervised release and ordered to pay $517,750 in restitution.

"Federal contractors are obligated to follow through on their promises to make payments to their subcontractors," said GSA Inspector General Carol Fortine Ochoa. "When contractors fail to meet their obligations, we will hold them accountable."

"The FBI takes particular interest in cases where individuals, for their own personal benefit, use deceit and fraud to line their pockets," said Michael T. Gavin, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Fraud has a negative and long lasting impact on the community, and the honest and law abiding citizens who are fed up with the likes of those who, motivated merely by greed, violate the law, should be assured by this conviction that the FBI is committed to work closely with its law enforcement partners to vigorously pursue anyone who commits such crimes."

This case was investigated by the General Services Administration, Office of the Inspector General and the FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Arvin prosecuted this case on the government’s behalf.

Updated September 10, 2018