Military contractor charged with fraud on Africa contracts

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A U.S. military contractor has been indicted in California for allegedly faking quality control on construction projects in Africa that were so badly done some buildings collapsed, including an aircraft hangar, authorities said Tuesday.

Micheline Pollock was named in a 98-count indictment by a federal grand jury in San Diego, the U.S. attorney’s office for Southern California said in a statement.

Pollock was chief executive officer of Dover Vantage, which between 2011 and 2018 won contracts from the Army Corps of Engineers and Navy Facilities Engineering Command for military and humanitarian projects in Africa. They included a maternity ward and a school for the deaf in Togo.

Pollock and others in the company allegedly submitted fraudulent quality-control plans that included résumés of fictitious employees; certified quality control work that was never performed; faked concrete strength test results; and made claims for construction that was never performed or didn’t meet requirements.

“Many of the structures constructed by Dover Vantage were so poorly constructed that they collapsed, including the aircraft hangar in Niger and a training facility in Senegal,” the U.S. attorney’s office statement said. “Most of the other structures constructed by Dover Vantage are now unusable.”

The military has had to reissue contracts, repair damaged buildings and reduce operating capacity, the statement said.

Pollock was arrested on Sep. 22 in Tbilisi, Georgia and remains in custody in that country while awaiting extradition, authorities said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if she had an attorney who could speak on her behalf.

The case is the first involving the Africa Strike Force, an anti-corruption initiative based in Southern California, the U.S. attorney’s office statement said.

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Coppell man charged with scamming $17 million in PPP money to buy luxury cars and homes

Federal investigators say a Coppell man fraudulently applied for dozens of federal stimulus PPP grants and received more than $17 million that he spent buying real estate and luxury cars such as a Bentley and a Corvette.

Government prosecutors have now charged dozens of people with fraudulently receiving grants from the Payroll Protection Program.

© Brian Elledge/Staff Photographer/The Dallas Morning News/TNS
Government prosecutors have now charged dozens of people with fraudulently receiving grants from the Payroll Protection Program.

A coalition of federal agencies charged Dinesh Sah, 55, of Coppell, with applying for $24.8 million in PPP loans for 15 businesses that claimed to have more than 500 employees, but in fact, many of the businesses were registered after the CARES Act was passed and did not have any employees, according to court documents detailing the indictment.

“Mr. Sah exploited this terrible pandemic for personal gain – and he should be held accountable to the American people for that behavior,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox in a statement. “COVID-19 has devastated the finances of hardworking business owners across the nation. PPP funds should be reserved for those who really need them to keep their companies afloat.”

Sah was arrested Sept. 16 and remains in custody, said a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Texas.

Sah is one of dozens indicted by government prosecutors for fraudulently applying for forgivable loans through the Payroll Protection Program, the $650 billion slice of the CARES Act designed to help small businesses cover costs for wages, rent and utilities. Among those charged with fraud were a former NFL football player and a former reality television star.

More than 5.2 million loans were approved nationwide. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, Texas businesses were approved for more than $41 billion in grants that were intended to go to businesses with 500 employees or fewer.

The indictment said

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Three charged over ‘million dollar contractor fraud scheme’

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Three men have been arrested and charged over a large scale fraud scheme which left “dozens” of New York homeowners and businesses out of pocket. Robert Decker, Scott Driscoll, and Robert Langlais are facing 17 felony charges, including fraud and grand larceny, after allegedly obtaining hundreds of thousands of dollars for work that was never performed or was poorly done.

Decker and Driscoll operated SJR Enterprises, LLC (SJR) as a home improvement contracting company between May 2018 and October 2019.

After receiving over $25,000, the men allegedly left one Albany resident without plumbing, electricity, and heat through the entire winter of 2019.

“Many of these victims invested their life savings so that they could improve their homes for themselves and their families, but instead of building newer and safer homes, all that these three defendants built was a house of lies.

We won’t allow anyone to take advantage of and steal from innocent New Yorkers trying to build better lives for themselves.”

Attorney General Letitia James

One homeowner took out a U.S. Housing and Urban Development Loan (203k) to fund almost $90,000 worth of renovations. The indictment claims Decker and Driscoll fraudulently obtained and diverted nearly $25,000 of the homeowner’s loan funds for materials, and then spent the remainder on personal expenses.

Under the terms of the loan, the homeowner hired Langlais to inspect and review Driscoll and Decker’s work before releasing funds from the loan.

Langlais is said to have fraudulently signed off on work that had either not been completed or poorly done. Over $5,000 was claimed for “cleanup costs” despite debris being strewn across the yard.

Robert and Janet Beaudoin in Cohoes were victims of all three alleged scammers. They say they were effectively swindled into trusting Decker and Driscoll with an extensive

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Contractors charged in $1 million fraud scheme

ALBANY – A contractor with a three-decade history of defrauding dozens of homeowners has been charged, along with his business partner and a housing consultant, for allegedly taking part in $1 million scheme against homeowners across the state.

The state Attorney General’s office said a joint investigation with the State Police resulted in a grand jury handing up a 17-count indictment against Robert Decker, 66, Scott Driscoll, 44 and Robert Langlais, 67, for their alleged roles in the fraud.

Attorney General Letitia James said many of the homeowners involved had invested their life savings in upgrading their homes.

“We won’t allow anyone to take advantage of and steal from innocent New Yorkers trying to build better lives for themselves,” she said in a statement.

The probe was prompted by dozens of complaints to the state Attorney General’s Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau about SJR Enterprises, a Waterford-based home improvement contracting company run by Decker and Driscoll, dating back to at least May 2018.

A review of the SJR Enterprises’ Better Business Bureau page and other online reviews show the complaints go even further back, with customers repeatedly complaining about work not being done or not being up to code. Many of the complaints state that they never heard from anyone at SJR Enterprises after writing a large deposit check or being talked in to paying the full amount to get the project started.

According to the indictment, Decker, 66, also known as Bob Dale, and Driscoll, defrauded home and business owners by taking money for improvement projects and using it for themselves, including nearly $400,000 in cash. They also used roughly $150,000 to pay off their debts and ordered over $50,000 in items through iTunes, Amazon and at various restaurants.

The indictment lays out several cases where homeowners spent months

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Defense Contractor Charged with $13M in COVID-19 Relief Fraud

The CEO of a defense contractor based in Hawaii has been charged with nearly $13 million in COVID-19 relief fraud.

Martin Kao is the CEO of Navatek, which was renamed Martin Defense Group back in July. According to the Department of Justice, the 47-year-old executive fraudulently obtained about $12.8 million in Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed under the CARES Act.

According to the complaint, Kao submitted at least two fraudulent PPP loan applications by falsely inflating his number of employees on the loan application and falsely certifying his company had not received another PPP loan. He stated that his company had about 500 employees when it had fewer than 150.

After receiving the nearly $13 million in loans, he transferred more than $2 million into his personal accounts.

According to Civil Beat, the CEO’s offices in Honolulu were raided by federal investigators. Kao also has political connections due to numerous campaign contributions and used those relationships, specifically with U.S. senators, to strongarm banks into pushing through the applications.

Kao faces two counts of bank fraud and five counts of money laundering. 

According to the Martin Defense Group website, the company provides research and development for the Department of Defense, NASA, and other government agencies. 

In May, the company won a $5.5 million DARPA contract to develop autonomous underwater vehicle technology for the agency’s Manta Ray Program. And in August 2019, the company won an $8 million contract from the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research (ONR) to design safer hulls and hybrid-electric propulsion systems for small watercraft.

The company was founded in Hawaii in 1979 but has offices in Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Virginia.

In an early statement, issued through public relations firm, CommPac, Kao said, “Navatek is a highly reputable company with

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