Kentucky-Based Defense Contractors, Owners Agree to Pay $6.25 Million to Resolve Allegations That They Submitted False Statements and Claims to Obtain Army Contracts Intended for Small Businesses

Kentucky-Based Defense Contractors, Owners Agree to Pay $6.25 Million to Resolve Allegations That They Submitted False Statements and Claims to Obtain Army Contracts Intended for Small Businesses

Kentucky-based Lusk Mechanical Contractors and Commonwealth Technologies, and their owners, Harry Lusk and Wendell Goodman, have agreed to pay $6.25 million to resolve allegations that they submitted false statements to the Small Business Administration and false claims to the Army, the Justice Department announced today.


Congress established the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program in 1997 to help inner cities and rural counties that have low household income and high unemployment, and whose communities have suffered from a lack of investment.   Under the HUBZone program, small businesses that maintain their principal office in a designated HUBZone, and meet certain other requirements, can apply to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for certification as a HUBZone company.  HUBZone companies can then use this certification to their advantage when bidding on government contracts.


Today’s settlement resolves allegations that Lusk Mechanical, Commonwealth Technology and their owners made, or caused to be made, false statements to the SBA to obtain certification as a HUBZone company, and then used this certification to wrongfully obtain Army contracts to build a courthouse in Fort Knox, Ky., and to complete maintenance and other repairs to Army facilities in Fort Knox.   Specifically, the United States alleged that in February 2005, Commonwealth submitted an application to the SBA representing that it was a small business with its principal place of business in a designated HUBZone.   In fact, Commonwealth allegedly operated out of Lusk Mechanical’s headquarters, which was not located in a HUBZone area.  Commonwealth’s business office was identified on the application as 212 East Caroline Street, Irvington, Ky.   The United States alleged that this location was nothing more than a vacant office space with no employees, and that Commonwealth’s application did not disclose that Wendell Goodman and Harry Lusk were, in fact, affiliated with Lusk Mechanical.   At the time, Harry Lusk and his wife were the sole owners of Lusk Mechanical and Wendell Goodman was the chief executive officer of Lusk Mechanical.   According to the United States’ allegations, neither Lusk nor Goodman disclosed in the application to the SBA that Commonwealth did not operate as an independent company, but instead shared facilities, equipment, personnel, insurance and bonding with Lusk Mechanical, nor did they inform the SBA about the financial relationship between Commonwealth and Lusk Mechanical.  The United States alleged that, using the falsely obtained HUBZone certification, the companies obtained contracts from the Army that had been restricted to qualified HUBZone companies, in violation of the False Claims Act and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA).


Under the terms of the settlement, Commonwealth, Lusk Mechanical, Goodman, and Lusk have agreed to pay $3,741,739.96, and to forfeit $2,506,260.24 seized by federal agents from their bank accounts under a civil forfeiture action.


“As our economy continues to improve, the HUBZone program provides a critical lifeline to small businesses that voluntarily choose to locate in areas that often have difficulty attracting business,” said Stuart F. Delery, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.   “Companies that set up sham offices not only break the law, but deprive the HUBZone communities and legitimate HUBZone businesses of the benefits of the HUBZone program.”


“They abused a program meant to assist small businesses located in financially disadvantaged communities,” stated David J. Hale, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. “Today’s multimillion dollar settlement is the result of a successfully coordinated effort among law enforcement agencies and the Department of Justice, working together to hold these business owners accountable.”


“The HUBZone Program offers significant benefits to eligible small businesses and is an important tool for unlocking the potential of historically underutilized business zones,” said Inspector General Peggy E. Gustafson of the Small Business Administration. “Preferences for federal contract awards must not be given to persons who lie in order to claim eligibility.   I applaud the dedication and perseverance of our law enforcement partners as justice is served here today on behalf of the American taxpayer”


“SBA’s contracting programs, including the HUBZone program, provide small businesses with the opportunity to grow and create jobs,” stated SBA’s General Counsel Sara Lipscomb.  “But, SBA has no tolerance for waste, fraud or abuse in any government contracting program and is committed to ensuring the benefits of these programs flow to the intended recipients.  SBA works closely with our federal partners to prevent bad actors from participating in contracting programs and taking action and holding those accountable when they lie to or mislead the government.”

“This investigation is the result of a highly successful joint effort by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and one of our key law enforcement partners — the SBA’s Office of Inspector General, in collaboration with the Department of Justice.   Fraud in military contracting undermines the confidence of the American public who demand a military procurement system that spends their tax dollars wisely and responsibly.   This investigation should serve as a warning for those who submit false claims for U.S. military and public funds that DCIS will aggressively investigate these matters,” said Bret Flinn, Resident Agent in Charge of the DCIS Dayton Resident Agency.


Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Delery thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky, the Office of General Counsel and the Office of the Inspector General for the Small Business Administration, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Justice Department’s Commercial Litigation Branch for the collaboration that resulted in today’s settlement.   The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

GeyerGorey LLP Opens Boston Office; Consolidates Mail and Shipping Processing System

GeyerGorey LLP Opens Boston Office; Consolidates Mail and Shipping Processing System

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Brooklyn, N.Y., Clinic Employee Pleads Guilty in Connection with $71 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Brooklyn, N.Y., Clinic Employee Pleads Guilty in Connection with $71 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

WASHINGTON – A Brooklyn, N.Y., resident pleaded guilty today for his role in a $71 million Medicare fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta E. Lynch, Acting Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos of the FBI’s New York Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Thomas O’Donnell of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).

Yuri Khandrius, 50, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon in the Eastern District of New York to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to pay kickbacks.

Khandrius was an employee of a clinic in Brooklyn that operated under three corporate names: Bay Medical Care PC, SVS Wellcare Medical PLLC and SZS Medical Care PLLC (Bay Medical clinic).  According to court documents, owners, operators and employees of the Bay Medical clinic paid cash kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries and used the beneficiaries’ names to bill Medicare for more than $71 million in services that were medically unnecessary or never provided.  The defendants billed Medicare for a wide variety of fraudulent medical services and procedures, including physician office visits, physical therapy and diagnostic tests.

According to the criminal complaint, the co-conspirators allegedly paid kickbacks to corrupt Medicare beneficiaries in a room at the clinic known as the “kickback room,” in which the conspirators paid approximately 1,000 kickbacks totaling more than $500,000 during a period of approximately six weeks from April to June 2010.

Khandrius admitted in court that he conspired with co-workers at Bay Medical to commit health care fraud and to pay cash kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries as part of the scheme.

At sentencing, Khandrius faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.  Sentencing is scheduled for March 11, 2013.

In total, 16 individuals have been charged in the Bay Medical scheme, including two doctors, nine clinic owners/operators/employees and five external money launderers.  To date, 11 defendants have pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy.  Five individuals await trial before Judge Gershon on Jan. 22, 2013.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon Jones of the Eastern District of New York and Trial Attorney Sarah M. Hall of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.  The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG.

The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.  The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,480 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 billion.  In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to:

Two Former Development Workers Arrested for Fraud

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN | DECEMBER 2, 2012 – Two former contractors on a recently completed U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) project in Afghanistan have been arrested on fraud charges. The action came as part of what U.S. Government officials described as an on-going campaign against fraud and waste in U.S. development efforts in Afghanistan.
Abdul Khabir Kakar and Noor Anwarzai were arrested by the Afghan Attorney General’s Anti Corruption Unit on charges of conspiring to steal approximately $10,000 of USAID’s funds in 2011. The two former employees are accused of falsifying official documentation from the Afghan Ministry of Finance (MOF), indicating that USAID’s implementing partner had paid the appropriate local property taxes for the office building used on the project.
Abdul Khabir Kakar was the Chief of Party, and Noor Anwarzai was the Finance Manager for USAID’s Afghanistan Farm Service Alliance (AFSA) project, implemented by Citizen’s Network for Foreign Affairs (CNFA). The arrested individuals were not U.S. government employees, but employees of the implementing partner.
The arrests were made by the Afghan National Police and investigators from the Afghan Attorney General’s Anti Corruption Unit, with the assistance of the USAID Office of Inspector General (OIG).
Commending the work of those involved, USAID OIG’s Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, Lisa Risley, cited the strong partnership between USAID OIG and Afghan authorities in preventing fraud, waste and abuse within USAID programs and operations in Afghanistan, adding that this level of cooperation has helped protect U.S. taxpayer dollars in Afghanistan.
As Afghan nationals, both Kakar and Anwarzai will be facing prosecution in an Afghan court on possible criminal charges carrying a maximum sentence of 3 years in prison and possible financial penalties.