Coweta man jailed for contracts fraud
A Coweta County man was sentenced last week to two years in prison for fraudulently obtaining several government construction contracts reserved for veterans with service-related disabilities.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Arthur W. Singleton was driven by greed and took advantage of a service-disabled Vietnam veteran to gain more than $1 million in federal contracts.
“(Singleton’s) fraud deprived genuine disabled veteran-owned businesses of the chance to obtain these federal contract,” Yates said.
Yates said the charges and other information presented in court showed that Singleton owned a construction firm named “Singleton Enterprises” and had over 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, said Yates.
From September 2007 to September 2008, Singleton entered into contracts with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States Coast Guard, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers to perform construction work around the country, according to Yates.
“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 over $1.5 million dollars from the fraudulently-obtained contracts,” Yates said.
Those 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,” said Gustafson.