Owner of Commercial Flooring Contractor Pleads Guilty to Participating in Kickback Scheme to Defraud a U.S. Army Facility | OPA

Melissa Bradford

The proprietor of a Fairbanks, Alaska, commercial flooring company, pleaded guilty on Sept. 22 for his position in a conspiracy to give kickbacks linked to contracts for industrial flooring solutions at a U.S. Military Facility. 

Benjamin W. McCulloch pleaded guilty to 5-depend felony charges submitted on Aug. 25, 2022, in the U.S. District Court docket for the District of Alaska. According to the plea, from March 2016 to March 2021, McCulloch conspired to pay kickbacks to an personnel of a primary contractor similar to flooring design contracts administered by the U.S. Military at Fort Wainwright. The prices state that McCulloch conspired to inflate the prices of four flooring building subcontracts, and then supplied the proceeds to his co-conspirator as kickbacks. Through the 5-calendar year scheme, McCullough paid out more than $100,000 in kickbacks.

“When subcontractors and key contractors at U.S. Military services collude, they undermine levels of competition for authorities contracts and squander general public resources meant to bolster our nationwide defense,” claimed Assistant Attorney Basic Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “The division and our legislation enforcement companions will provide to justice criminals who cheat on federal government contracts.”

“Those who have interaction in fraudulent kickback schemes undermine the government’s competitive contracting techniques, and damage American taxpayers in the approach,” said Unique Agent in Charge Antony Jung of the FBI’s Anchorage Area Place of work. “Detecting and disrupting these techniques will normally be a precedence for the FBI, and alongside one another with our companions, we will keep offenders accountable.”

“Today’s plea is a fitting stop for individuals who conspire to defraud the U.S. Military,” stated Distinctive Agent in Cost L. Scott Moreland of the U.S. Military Prison Investigation Division’s Key Procurement Fraud Subject Business. “The Military CID’s Significant Procurement Fraud Subject Office is happy to work with our federal regulation enforcement partners to protect the coffers of the U.S. govt from those people who crack the law and threaten economic harm to the U.S. Military.”

“The federal government contracting approach is meant to be a healthier competition, not a rigged match with illegal kickbacks thrown in,” stated Exclusive Agent in Charge Bret Kressin of the IRS-Legal Investigation, Seattle Area Place of work. “Mr. McCulloch’s greed not only undermined the U.S. Army, but it hurt our communities when the stolen cash went immediately to line his coconspirators’ pockets.”

“Mr. McCulloch’s responsible plea is a important step ahead in holding him, and possibly other individuals, accountable for his illegal efforts to enrich himself and some others by willfully committing a many years-lengthy fraud versus the U.S. Military and American taxpayer,” explained Particular Agent in Demand Bryan D. Denny of the Office of Protection, Business of Inspector Common (DOD-OIG), Protection Felony Investigative Company (DCIS), Western Area Place of work. “DCIS and our companions will continuously seek out to determine and eradicate kickback strategies, these kinds of as those utilized by Mr. McCulloch, for the reason that they corrupt the DoD procurement technique by unlawfully suppressing opposition and escalating costs.”

The charges to which McCulloch pleaded responsible carry a utmost penalty of ten several years in jail and a fantastic of $250,000. The high-quality for the anti-kickback conspiracy cost might be improved to twice the attain derived from the criminal offense or 2 times the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of these amounts is better than the statutory most great. In addition to his guilty plea, McCulloch has agreed to pay back restitution. 

The Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Workplace, the U.S. Attorney’s Office environment for the District of Alaska, the FBI’s Anchorage Industry Business, the U.S. Military Legal Investigation Division’s Key Procurement Fraud Industry Business, the DCIS’s Western Subject Business office in Seattle, and the IRS’s Criminal-Investigation Seattle Business are investigating this scenario. 

Anyone with info in connection with this investigation is urged to call  the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Workplace at 415-934-5300, the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Middle at 888-647-3258 or http://www.justice.gov/atr/call/newcase.html, or the FBI’s Anchorage Discipline Workplace at 907-276-4441.

In November 2019, the Office of Justice developed the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF), a joint regulation enforcement energy to fight antitrust crimes and similar fraudulent strategies that effects federal government procurement, grant and plan funding at all stages of federal government – federal, condition and nearby. To learn far more about the PCSF, or to report information and facts on current market allocation, selling price repairing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive carry out similar to federal federal government contracts, go to https://www.justice.gov/procurement-collusion-strike-pressure.

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