July 3, 2013 by cs
The federal government made progress but again fell short of its small business contracting goals last year, according to government data released Tuesday.
Just 22.25 percent of federal contracting dollars, or $89.9 billion, went to small businesses in fiscal 2012, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). That’s higher than last year’s 21.65 percent but still shy of the goal of 23 percent set by Congress. It is the 12th consecutive year officials have missed the target.
The government also fell short of its goal for women-owned businesses and firms in economically disadvantaged areas.
Download the SBA report here: download
Read a critique of the SBA report issued by the American Small Business League here: Analysis of SBA Report of Top 100 Small Business Contract Awards FY12 – ASBL
July 1, 2013 by cs
The Department of the Interior is finalizing regulations guiding implementation of the Buy Indian Act, which provides the Bureau of Indian Affairs (IA) with authority to set aside procurement contracts for American Indian-owned and controlled businesses and Alaska Native-owned and controlled businesses.
The new rule can be found at 78 Fed. Reg. 34266, dated June 7, 2013.
This rule supplements the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and the Department of the Interior Acquisition Regulation (DIAR), and the final rule is to be effective July 8, 2013.
The rule supplements the Federal Acquisition Regulation and Department of the Interior Acquisition Regulation, and will be located at 48 C.F.R. Sections 1401.301-80, 1452-280 and 1480. It also responds to and incorporates the nuances of Section 831 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1991 (Pub. Law 101-510, 10 U.S.C. 2301 note) that amended 25 U.S.C. 47 to allow American Indian firms to participate in the Department of Defense’s Mentor-Protégé Program and yet maintain eligibility for contracts awarded under the authority of the Buy Indian Act.
Indian economic enterprises interested in contracting with Indian Affairs should monitor the Federal Business Opportunities website — www.FedBizOpps.gov — to identify opportunities for which there is a Buy Indian set-aside under this rule.
June 27, 2013 by cs
A new interim rule took effect on June 21, 2013, formally amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), that removes the dollar limitation for set-asides to women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs), eligible under the Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Small Business program.
The new interim rule implements section 1697 of the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which amends the part of the Small Business Act that establishes the regulations governing federal agencies’ administration of the WOSB contracting program.
Agencies previously could award WOSB/EDWOSB set-aside contracts only up to the limit of $6.5 million for manufacturing and $4 million for all other acquisitions.
Written comments need to be received by Aug. 20 before the interim rule becomes final. The interim rule can be found at: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/06/21/2013-14616/federal-acquisition-regulation-contracting-with-women-owned-small-business-concerns.
The SBA previously announced that agencies should take immediate steps, per the provisions of the NDAA, to dispense with the dollar caps on contracts set-aside for WOSBs or EDWOSBs. Other restrictions on WOSB/EDWOSB set asides (e.g., the rule of two and NAICS code applicability) still apply.
If you have questions about the federal government’s WOSB contracting program, or if need assistance in certifying your business as a WOSB and/or EDWOSB, please contact your GTPAC Counselor.
June 24, 2013 by cs
Newnan, Ga., resident Arthur W. Singleton was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison for fraudulently obtaining several government construction contracts reserved for veterans with service-related disabilities.
He also was ordered to pay $181,000 in restitution.
According to U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian 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, 63, approached a Vietnam veteran (who was bedridden from surgeries related to his combat injuries) and proposed staring a business to exploit the veteran’s disabled status to get 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.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2013/06/20/singleton-enterprises-owner-gets-two.html
June 21, 2013 by cs
Is the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative working for small business? Some in Congress and in the contracting community are worried that it’s not.
The concern raised by industry representatives, and by Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) at a June 13 hearing of the Contracting and Workforce Subcommittee of the House Small Business Committee, is that the use of strategic sourcing vehicles are making it difficult for small businesses to compete to provide the government with goods and services.
As the single largest purchaser in the world, the U.S. government can alter market sectors when it makes buying decisions. If participation in a few huge, government-wide contracts is limited to relative handful of companies, a possible unintended consequence could be the erosion of competition in certain sectors. And that, in turn, could affect the value the government gets from these contracts by curtailing competition in certain areas over the long term.
Keep reading this article at: http://fcw.com/articles/2013/06/13/strategic-sourcing-small-business.aspx
June 20, 2013 by cs
The Internal Revenue Service failed to give the House Small Business Committee requested documents on how the agency treats smaller companies by the requested date of June 17, the committee said Tuesday.
Danny Werfel, the acting head of the IRS, told Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), the chairman of the Small Business panel, that the agency would try to get the documents to the committee within another 15 days.
Graves had asked the IRS last month what percentage of small businesses received audits from the agency, and for information on why the IRS might come to notice small businesses.
Keep reading this article at: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/domestic-taxes/306423-irs-misses-document-deadline-with-small-business-panel
June 19, 2013 by cs
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his top budget deputy on Tuesday signaled they intend to make deep cuts in contractor personnel who help manage programs in almost every sector of the Pentagon bureaucracy.
The Defense Department today employs an estimated 700,000 service contractors who, in many cases, work side-by-side with the civilian and military workforce at installations across the country and worldwide.
The new shift can be expected to return some clout into the hands of civil service employees who work at half the cost or even less, reversing a decades-old trend of farming out program management increasingly to pricey hired hands in the defense industry.
“We are currently reviewing all contractors, all the contracts we have,” Hagel testified at a Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing.
June 17, 2013 by cs
Defense contractors with top-secret clearances are bracing for blowback from the explosive National Security Agency (NSA) leaks scandal.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations about two National Security Agency programs has shaken the military-industrial complex, raising questions about whether the government has lost control over who is cleared to see sensitive information.
Experts said the new leaks, which follow massive disclosures to WikiLeaks by Bradley Manning, a military intel analyst now on trial, could intensify pressure on Washington to restrict access more tightly, as well as tighten the vetting of those given clearances.
But it will be difficult — if not impossible — to impose control on a system in which 1.4 million people now have some kind of clearance to see classified information.
June 12, 2013 by cs
Deloitte LLP’s 2013 “Global Defense Outlook,” released June 10, 2013, is basically all bad news. Even the silver linings turned to lead when we talked them over this morning with the chief of the defense practice at the giant consulting firm, retired Air Force Gen. Charles Wald.
As US defense spending staggers, there are some other places on the planet where military budgets are on the rise, from the usual suspects in East Asia and the Persian Gulf to unexpected players in Africa. The amounts, however, aren’t anywhere near big enough to offset US and European declines.
Defense ministries and contractors have gotten used to powerful growth since 9/11. Indeed, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute calculates the boom began even before that, with worldwide military expenditure rising every year since 1998 – until 2012, when they finally started down again. Of the (roughly) 195 countries in the world, just 50 account for 97 percent of global defense spending, the Deloitte study calculates, and, said Wald, that “top 50,” taken as a group, “are going to reduce their spending.”
That may or may not be good news for global peace, but it’s tough news for the defense industry.
It’s not just that the pie is getting smaller: Traditional defense firms’ percentage slice of that pie is shrinking as well. That’s because what little growth is happening is increasingly moving away from old-fashioned heavy metal – tanks, ships, planes – to information technology, from sensors to communications to cybersecurity. An invasion of IT companies from the much larger and more dynamic civilian economy hardly bodes well for traditional defense firms.
Keep reading this article at: http://breakingdefense.com/2013/06/10/deloitte-details-bleak-outlook-for-global-defense-industry/
8(a) contractor indicted on Federal charges of conspiracy, money laundering, obstruction of justice, wire, and tax fraud
June 11, 2013 by cs
On May 20, 2013, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson and Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division Kathryn Keneally of the U.S. Attorney’s Office f0t the District of Idaho announced that a federal grand jury in Boise returned a 42-page Superseding Indictment this week that charges Elaine Martin, 66, of Meridian, Idaho, with making false statements, conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, and obstruction of justice. It also seeks forfeiture of over $9 million as the proceeds of the alleged crimes. Darrell Swigert, 67, of Boise, Idaho, is charged with obstructing and conspiring to obstruct a federal criminal proceeding.
Martin was the president and majority stockholder of Marcon, Inc., a Treasure Valley construction company. Swigert was a minority shareholder. An earlier indictment that charged only Martin, filed on March 13, 2013, was unsealed by the court today. A court date has not been set.
The Superseding Indictment charges Martin with four counts of making and subscribing a false tax return, two counts of conspiracy, five counts of wire fraud, one count of making a false statement, five counts of mail fraud, four counts of interstate transportation of property taken by fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, and one count of obstructing justice.
The Superseding Indictment alleges that as early as 2000, and continuing through January 2012, Martin took steps to lower her personal net worth, such as acquiring, holding and transferring assets into the names of nominees. According to the Superseding Indictment, this and other alleged conduct enabled Martin to successfully apply for and be admitted into the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) Program. The Superseding Indictment alleges that Martin’s actions also allowed Marcon to fraudulently maintain its certification with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, in the states of Idaho and Utah. The SBA 8(a) Program and DBE Program are designed to help economically and socially disadvantaged business compete in the marketplace. Both programs require applicants to show that their personal net worth is below a certain statutory threshold. The Superseding Indictment alleges that Martin remained in control of her assets while appearing to meet the personal net worth requirements of both programs.
According to the Superseding Indictment, Martin also caused false and fraudulent tax returns to be filed for herself and Marcon, Inc., which did not report all of the income received by Martin or the company. These false returns were allegedly submitted in support of Marcon’s applications to the SBA 8(a) Program and DBE Programs for Idaho and Utah, along with allegedly false personal financial statements. According to the Superseding Indictment, Martin caused the financial books and records for Marcon to be false by purposefully omitting, deleting, altering or mis-categorizing entries. The Superseding Indictment further alleges that Martin concealed her role or relationship in other business entities that dealt with Marcon, Inc.
While a participant in the SBA 8(a) Program, the Superseding Indictment alleges that Martin sought to conceal withdrawals of capital that exceeded the SBA 8(a) Program limits by executing loans with her family members and with entities that she controlled.
The Superseding Indictment charges that Marcon received more than $2.5 million in government contracts based on the company’s fraudulently obtained SBA 8(a) status. The Superseding Indictment further alleges that Marcon received more than $6 million in government contracts based on the company’s fraudulently obtained DBE status in the states of Idaho and Utah.
Both Martin and Swigert are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice by fabricating documents and making false statements that sought to conceal the true nature, source, and extent of property belonging to Martin. According to the Superseding Indictment, Martin and Swigert fabricated a loan document and document that purported to memorialize a gift in order to impede a civil audit by the IRS and criminal investigation by the IRS and U.S. Attorney’s Office. Swigert is also charged with a second count of obstruction of justice based on allegedly false statements that he made to conceal the nature, source, and extent of property belonging to Martin.
The government seeks forfeiture of $9,237,722.10, which represents the proceeds that Martin obtained as a result of the alleged offenses.
“Those who seek federal contracts and seek to benefit from federal funds have a solemn obligation to deal honestly and openly with the federal government,” said Olson. “This office will continue to work side-by-side with its federal program partners to ensure that fraud is thoroughly investigated and, where appropriate, vigorously prosecuted.”
“The 8(a) Business Development Program is designed to help small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace and offers significant benefits to eligible small businesses,” said Inspector General Peggy E. Gustafson of the Small Business Administration. “Preferences for federal contract awards must not be given to persons who lie in order to claim eligibility. 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.”
“Those who commit tax fraud and fraudulently benefit from government programs are cheating honest taxpayers. IRS-Criminal Investigations will work diligently with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those who engage in these illegal activities are vigorously investigated and brought to justice,” said Stephen Boyd, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent-in-Charge for the State of Idaho.
“The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program is a business assistance program of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) which helps economically and socially disadvantaged small businesses compete in the marketplace. DBE fraud harms the integrity of the program and adversely impacts law-abiding, small business contractors trying to compete on a level playing field,” said William Swallow, regional Special Agent-in-Charge of the DOT’s Office of Inspector General. “Working with our Federal, State, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial colleagues, we will vigorously pursue those who violate the law, and expose and shut down fraud schemes that adversely affect public trust and DOT-assisted highway programs.”
Each charge of making and subscribing a false return, as charged in counts one through four, is punishable by up to three years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. The charge of conspiracy, as charged in counts five, twelve, and23, is punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. Each count of wire fraud, as charged in counts six through ten, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to five years of supervised release. The charge of making a false statement, as charged in count 11, is punishable by up to two years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to one year of supervised release. Each charge of mail fraud, as charged in counts 13 through 16, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to five years of supervised release. Each charge of interstate transportation of property taken by fraud, as charged in counts 18 through 21, is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. The charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering, as charged in count 22 is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. The charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, count 23, and obstruction of justice, counts 24 and 25, are each punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.
The case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The announcement is part of an effort by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), created in November 2009, to combat financial fraud crimes by waging aggressive, coordinated and proactive investigations and prosecutions. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, the task force is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
An indictment is a means of charging a person with criminal activity. It is not evidence. The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.