Former Officer Sentenced in Absentia to Federal Prison in Connection with Fraudulent U.S. Army Contracts Scheme
Though she failed to appear in federal court in San Antonio today, 52-year-old former U.S. Army officer Heidi Webster of Manhattan, KS, was sentenced to six years in federal prison for defrauding the United States in connection with U.S. Army contracts worth millions of dollars for medical equipment and personnel announced Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.
In addition to the prison term, Chief United States District Judge Fred Biery ordered that Webster pay $613,828 restitution and be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing her prison term. A warrant has been issued for Webster’s arrest.
On January 9, 2014, Webster and her co-defendant, Lawrence Fenti, a former non-commissioned officer in charge of Base Realignment and Closure issues for Brooks Army Medical Center (BAMC) radiology, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery. Criminal acts involved in the conspiracy included intent to defraud the U.S., violate the Government conflict of interest law; commit bribery; commit wire fraud; make false claims against the United States; make false statements to federal authorities; and, commit money laundering.
By pleading guilty, the defendants admitted to conspiring together since 2007 to fraudulently secure multiple Army contracts and sub-contracts for radiology equipment and services by using Fenti’s position of influence, taking advantage of a prime contractor’s non-competitive bidding status, making false statements and fraudulent claims, as well as bribing Army personnel and Army contractors. Those contracts included a $2 million BAMC magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contract in June 2008, a $4.9 million BAMC MRI contract in July 2008, a $633,406.69 BAMC staffing contract in September 2008, and a $336,600 MRI contract in September 2009 for Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, NC. Webster also admitted to paying Fenti thousands of dollars for his role in the overall scheme.
In September 2014, Fenti was sentenced to four years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for his role in the scheme.
A third defendant in this case, 43-year-old John Walter Hoffman, owner/operator of Hoffman Surgical Devices, Inc. in San Antonio, is awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, wire fraud and making false statements to U.S. Army authorities. Jury selection is scheduled for June 8, 2015.
This investigation was conducted by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Division (Army CID), the Internal Revenue Service--Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Assistant United States Attorney James Blankinship is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.