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Ski condo, Disney timeshares, and Corvette among assets Muskego businessman must forfeit after fraud scheme
Federal Court case

Ski condo, Disney timeshares, and Corvette among assets Muskego businessman must forfeit after fraud scheme

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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.

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.”

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