by Steven Koprince
The co-owner of a Missouri construction company faces the likelihood of 51 months in jail after pleading guilty to SDVOSB fraud charges.
According to a Department of Justice Press release, Michael Parker admitted that he and his father, Warren Parker, falsely claimed that Warren was a service-disabled veteran in order to receive more than $7 million in SDVOSB contracts.
The DOJ press release states that Silver Star Construction LLC, which is now defunct, was awarded more than $6.7 million in VA SDVOSB set-aside contracts and more than $748,000 in DoD SDVOSB set-aside contracts. The contracts were apparently awarded based on Blue Star’s certification that Warren Parker was a service-disabled veteran.
However, the DOJ says, there was a slight problem with Silver Star’s self-certification: “[a]fter an extensive investigation, federal agents determined that in fact Warren Parker never was classified as a service-disabled veteran by the Veterans Administration or the Department of Defense.”
Although Michael Parker has yet to be sentenced, both Michael Parker and the DOJ have agreed to recommend a sentence of 51 months in federal prison, plus financial restitution. Warren Parker was previously sentenced to 87 months in federal prison.
Some of the rules governing the federal SDVOSB programs are complex and confusing, and well-meaning business owners can sometimes inadvertently violate those rules. However, there is nothing complex or confusing about the requirement that a SDVOSB be owned and operated by one or more actual service-disabled veterans. When non-SDVs claim service-disabled status for federal contracts, they not only steal contract opportunities from legitimate SDVOSBs, they steal the honor of those who sacrificed for their country. It is fitting that Michael Parker is now looking at the likelihood of more than four years in prison for his crimes.