(WTVG) - Five men have been charged in a 71-count indictment with engaging in conspiracies to defraud several federal agencies, including the NASA Plum Brook Station near Sandusky, Ohio. Other agencies included the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia, and the VA Medical Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, the five men are listed as James A. Clark, 61, of Chipley, Florida; Eric L. Hogan, 59, of Bonaire, Georgia; Kenneth A. Latham, 73, of Albany, Georgia; James K. Alford, 55, of Bowling Green, Kentucky; and Harvey Daniels, Jr., 40, of Marianna, Florida. The charges include conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to submit false claims, false claims and major fraud.
Federal departments and agencies, as directed by Congress, work with the Small Business Administration to award portions of contracts to small businesses, with specific goals for small disadvantaged business, including service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. According to the indictment, the defendants misrepresented themselves and their businesses as fitting these descriptions in order to sign multi-million dollar contracts with the government.
They also engaged in bribes and kickbacks as a result of these negotiations.
Among those contracts was one with the NASA Plum Brook Station near Sandusky worth $5.6 million. NASA says they would not have awarded that contract if they had known the business was misrepresented.
“These programs were created to help companies owned by disabled veterans and other struggling small businesses,” U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said. “The defendants in this case took advantage of these programs to fraudulently obtain taxpayer money.”