MILWAUKEE — A Muskego businessman has been given 6½ years in federal prison for leading a 12-year fraud scheme involving more than $260 million in government-funded contracts intended to benefit small businesses.
U.S. Attorney Matthew D. Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced Monday that Brian L. Ganos of Muskego was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper. The sentence also includes two years of supervised release, a $5,000 fine, and forfeiture of assets worth nearly $4 million.
Ganos had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. Four other individuals and one corporation have also pleaded guilty to a felony charge in connection with Ganos’ scheme.
According to Krueger, the scheme involved operating three construction companies with straw owners who qualified as a disadvantaged individual or as a service-disabled veteran, but who did not actually control the companies. Ganos then fraudulently obtained small business program certifications to win government-funded contracts to which the companies were not entitled.
The scheme continued from 2004 to mid-2016, during which period Ganos and others used those certifications to obtain over $260 million in federal, state, and local contract payments.
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These included federal construction contracts that were set aside for Small Disadvantaged Businesses or Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.
In addition, Krueger said, Nuvo Construction Company, Inc. used its DBE certification to win ready-mix concrete contracts based on the false representation that Nuvo provided ready-mix concrete independently when, in truth, Nuvo’s concrete operations depended heavily on Sonag Ready Mix. On multiple occasions, the conspirators engaged in efforts to conceal the scheme and obstruct investigations into the matter.
As a result of the scheme, Ganos undermined the small business programs and deprived honest small businesses of opportunities to become established, Krueger said. In addition, Ganos used various means to launder proceeds of the fraud scheme and enrich himself.
As part of his plea agreement, Ganos agreed to the forfeiture of various assets, including: More than $1.9 million seized from accounts; a ski condominium in Winter Park, Colorado; the office building in Milwaukee used to facilitate the scheme; two Disney timeshares; and five vehicles, including a Corvette Stingray convertible and classic cars.
“Driven by greed, Brian Ganos exploited federal programs that Congress intended to help disadvantaged individuals and veterans who were injured while serving our country,” Krueger said. “This case should send a clear warning that cheating federal programs will not be tolerated. We commend the collaboration and commitment of the federal agencies that investigated this case.”
“The GSA Office of Inspector General will aggressively pursue contractors who make false representations in order to obtain federal contracts,” said Special Agent-in-Charge, Jeffrey Ryan. “Schemes to fraudulently access opportunities designated as set-aside contracts cheat the government and deserving bidders.”
Today's mugshots: Dec. 17
These are images of people charged with a crime in Racine County. Booking photos are provided by Racine County law enforcement officials. A defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty and convicted.
Harold B Connell
NO PHOTO AVAILABLE
Harold B Connell, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, terrorist threats (hate crime), disorderly conduct (use of a dangerous weapon, hate crime).
Reno K Devore
Reno K Devore, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, robbery of a financial institution.
Taylor J Holbek
NO PHOTO AVAILABLE
Taylor J Holbek, 400 block of North Pine Street, Burlington, neglecting a child (specified harm did not occur and child under 6 years of age), possession of drug paraphernalia.
William J Pompey
William J Pompey, 1600 block of Oregon Street, Racine, substantial battery (domestic abuse assessments), disorderly conduct (domestic abuse assessments).
Manuel Angel Vazquez
Manuel Angel Vazquez, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, manufacture/deliver cocaine (between 1 and 5 grams).
Vernon L Walker
Vernon L Walker, also known as Vaughntille Walker, 5000 block of 14th Avenue, Kenosha, manufacture/deliver cocaine (less than or equal to 1 gram, possession with intent to deliver/distribute a controlled substance on or near a park), maintaining a drug trafficking place.
NO PHOTO AVAILABLE
Marquis Washington, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, felony personal identity theft (avoidance), operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, operating with prohibited alcohol concentration, operate motor vehicle while revoked, obstructing an officer, misdemeanor bail jumping.
Nicholas A Wilson
Nicholas A Wilson, 3800 block of 16th Street, Racine, felony bail jumping, operating with restricted controlled substance in blood (with a minor child in vehicle).
Jacob A Johnson
Jacob A Johnson, Lyons, Wisconsin, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia, misdemeanor bail jumping.
Maurice L Stribling
Maurice L Stribling, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, misdemeanor battery, disorderly conduct, criminal damage to property.