Coweta man sentenced on federal charges
A Coweta County man has been sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia for illegally obtaining federal contracts reserved for military veterans.
Arthur W. Singleton was sentenced to two years in prison for fraudulently obtaining several government construction contracts reserved for veterans with service-related disabilities, according to court officials.
“Driven by greed, Mr. Singleton took advantage of a service-disabled veteran of the Vietnam War to gain over a million of dollars in federal contracts,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “The defendant’s fraud deprived genuine disabled veteran-owned businesses of the chance to obtain these federal contracts.”
“The United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, remains diligent in investigating matters such as these that defraud both the department and the taxpayer,” said Karen Citizen-Wilcox, Special Agent-in-Charge, USDA-OIG.
“Aggressive investigative efforts through effective partnerships among several law enforcement agencies were key in bringing this defendant to justice,” said Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Southeast Field Office, Defense Criminal Investigative Service. “This sentencing should serve as a deterrent to others who intend to take advantage of disabled military veterans and defraud the federal government.”
“These contracts are supposed to go to genuine service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses,” said Inspector General Peggy E. Gustafson of the Small Business Administration. “Federal contracts should never be awarded to persons who commit fraud to claim eligibility for contracts set-aside for our nation’s heroes. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their commitment to seek justice on behalf of the American taxpayer.”
“The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General vigorously investigates individuals who fraudulently obtain non-competitive contracts specifically set aside for veterans with service-connected disabilities,” stated Special Agent in Charge Quentin G. Aucoin.
According to Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: Singleton owned a construction firm named “Singleton Enterprises” and had more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry. In 2007, Singleton approached a Vietnam veteran (who was bedridden from surgeries related to his combat injuries) and advocated creating a business that would exploit the veteran’s disabled status to obtain federal government contracts that were reserved exclusively for companies owned and run by service-disabled veterans. When the veteran agreed to the scheme, Singleton formed two companies using the veteran’s name.
From September 2007 to September 2008, Singleton entered into contracts with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Agriculture, the United States Coast Guard, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers to perform construction work around the country. Singleton used the veteran’s status to bid on these contracts, knowing that he was ineligible for the contracts – given that the veteran performed no work for either company, did not have an ownership stake, and did not control the management or daily operations of either business. In total, Singleton received more than $1.5 million dollars from the fraudulently-obtained contracts.
Singleton, 63, of Coweta County, Ga., was sentenced to two years in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $181,000. On April 15, Singleton pleaded guilty to one count of making false documents.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Small Business Administration, Office of Inspector General - Investigations; the United States Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General; the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General; and the United States Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey W. Davis, Glenn Baker, and Shanya Dingle prosecuted the case.