Three accused of $20 million bid conspiracy at Fort Gordon enter not guilty pleas

An Army colonel, his wife and a former defense contractor accused of bribery and bid-rigging in an alleged $20 million conspiracy at Fort Gordon entered not guilty pleas Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

 

Col. Anthony Roper, 55, Audra Roper, 49, and Dwayne O. Fulton, 58, pleaded not guilty at their arraignment in the federal courthouse in Augusta. Magistrate Judge Brian K. Epps set $50,000 bonds for each and gave the Ropers until 5 p.m. Friday to post the $5,000 cash to secure each bond.

According to the indictment, Roper was responsible for overseeing the building and modernization of the Army’s information and communications network at Fort Gordon. He is accused of using that position to seek bribes to steer and award Army and private company contracts.

A person only named by the initials “CDL” retired from the Army in February 2008 after 20 years of service. CDL established the company Communications Research, Engineering and Consultant Group with the goal of getting Army contracts after retirement.

According to the Georgia Secretary of State online corporation search, one company named Communications, Research, Engineering and Consultant Group is licensed in the state. According to the 2016 and 2017 annual registration forms, Calvin Lawyer is the person authorized to sign for the company.

According to the indictment, CDL, the Ropers and Fulton conspired to bribe public officials to get more than $20 million in contracts. Audra Roper is accused of setting up Quadar Group as a shell company to funnel bribery payments. Fulton, an officer of a large defense contractor, is accused of working with CDL to provide fraudulent information to the Army, other government agencies and private companies to get government contracts. He allegedly set up Oz TEK Research as a shell company to submit fraudulent invoices and obstruct any investigation of bribery.

Roper is specifically accused of depositing $60,000 in bribery payments into his personal checking account between December 2008 and December 2015. He is also accused of giving CDL and Fulton internal, confidential and proprietary information belonging to the government and other contractors between November 2007 through Dec. 15.

Roper is also accused of fraudulently documenting the justification for awarding contracts to a single source bidder to ensure CDL’s company was awarded prime contracts between September 2012 and 2015. And CDL and Fulton allegedly falsified documentation to the Army and others that their employees were performing contract work.

The 16-page indictment was returned last month by a federal grand jury. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Troy Clark said Tuesday that there are hundreds of thousands of pages of discovery in the ongoing investigation. Because of the extensive amount of material defense attorneys must review, the magistrate judge extended the normal two-week period to file motions to three months.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

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