Four individuals pleaded not guilty last week to three counts of fraud involving federal contracts intended for 8(a) and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.
A federal grand jury in Greeneville, Tennessee returned an indictment on Aug. 12, 2013, against Ricky Anthony Lanier, 47, and Katrina Reshina Lanier, 40, of LaGrange, N.C.; Latoya Montrevette Speight, 37, of Snow Hill, N.C.; and Emanuel Louis Hill, 47, of Louisville, Ky., for wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and major fraud against the United States.
These individuals appeared in court on Sept. 9, 2014 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis Inman and pleaded not guilty. All were released on bond pending trial, which has been set for Nov. 18, 2014 in U.S. District Court, in Greeneville, Tennessee.
If convicted, they all face a term of 20 years in prison as to each wire fraud charge and up to 10 years in prison for the charges of major fraud against the United States. Additionally, they face fines of up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release as to each count. The indictment also seeks forfeitures of approximately $15 million as to the Laniers and Speight and approximately $5 million as to Hill.
Details of this conspiracy are included in the indictment on file with the U.S. District Court, which alleges that the Laniers, Speight, and Hill conspired from November 2005 to April 2013 to defraud the United States government through a scheme to fraudulently obtain federal contracts intended to be awarded to businesses lawfully participating in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development program and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern program.
Court records state Ricky Lanier was an owner of Global Construction Inc. (GCI), which participated in the SBA’s 8(a) business development program from 1998 to 2007. Katrina Lanier and Speight worked at GCI. From 2001 to 2007 GCI received over $23 million in federal contracts.
In 2007, however, GCI graduated from the 8(a) program and was no longer eligible to receive 8(a) set-asides.
Kylee Construction, founded in 2005, originally had a mailing address of Emanuel Louis Hill’s father’s home, then a post office box opened by Ricky Lanier, and eventually changed to Hill’s home address. Between 2010 and 2013, Kylee Construction received over $5 million in contracts under the Department of Veterans Affairs program for small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.
Lanier also convinced a North Carolina-based company, JMR Investments, that he would handle all of their construction business. From 2008 to 2013, JMR received over $9 million in federal contracts designated under SBA and VA programs.
This indictment is the result of an investigation by Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, Department of Interior Office of Inspector General, Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, and United States Secret Service, with assistance from the National Park Service and General Services Administration Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Neil Smith and David Gunn will represent the United States.