Two people admitted their involvement Thursday in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain $20 million in contracts at Fort Gordon.
In U.S. District Court, Calvin Lawyer, 59, and Dwayne O. Fulton, 58, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy, admitting they took part in a bid-rigging and bribery scheme that operated from 2008 through December 2016. They face up to five years imprisonment.
Two other alleged members of the conspiracy are Anthony Roper and his wife, Audra Roper, who have pleaded not guilty. All four remain free on $50,000 bonds.
Before he retired in 2008 as a colonel in the Army, Lawyer set up a company, Communications Research Engineering and Consultant Group, with the goal of obtaining government contracts. He enlisted the aid of a subordinate officer, Lt. Col. Roper, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Troy Clark.
Roper was responsible for overseeing the building and modernization of the Army’s information and communications network at Fort Gordon.
Clark said Lawyer paid Roper a total of $199,278 in bribes in exchange for assistance in rigging bids through fraud, false statements and obstruction. Lawyer was awarded his first government contract in 2008 when he didn’t have any employees or an office, Clark said.
Lawyer submitted a fraudulent application with the Small Business Administration to become qualified to apply for set aside contracts and sole source contracts.
Fulton worked for the large defense contractor, Kratos Defense &Security Solutions Inc. He conspired with Lawyer to get his company contracts by using Lawyer’s company as a front man. Kratos employees would do the work for contracts Lawyer was awarded, the prosecutor said. It was an illegal pass through, Clark said.
The defendants went to such lengths to conceal the fraud as changing company letterhead, falsifying travel vouchers and employee identification badges, Clark said.
After a search warrant was executed at Fulton’s company on Dec. 15, 2015, Fulton, Lawyer, and allegedly the Ropers, met to devise a cover story by creating false invoices and a shell company to obstruct the investigation, Clark said.
Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. questioned Lawyer and Fulton about the source of any income. He required both men to provide full accounting of their finances to the pretrial services probation office for his review.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226