Two military contractors received sentencing today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Texarkana Division, for their involvement in a bid-rigging scheme related to the maintenance and repair of military tactical vehicles within Texas. The scheme spanned multiple years and managed to acquire over $17 million in taxpayer funds.
Aaron Stephens, a resident of Queen City, Texas, was handed an 18-month prison sentence and a criminal fine of $50,000. As stated in a plea agreement submitted on January 12, Stephens and his accomplices manipulated bids for specific government contracts from May 2013 to January 2018, creating a false sense of competition and ensuring government payments. The group submitted coordinated bids at inflated prices, eliminating true competition and ensuring a predetermined company won each contract. Stephens and his co-conspirators rigged six contracts for projects conducted at the Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas, including tasks like overhauling armor kits for military trucks and turrets for Humvees.
John “Mark” Leveritt, hailing from Heath, Texas, was sentenced to six months in prison and a criminal fine of $300,000. According to a plea agreement submitted on July 13, 2022, Leveritt participated in the same conspiracy from May 2013 to April 2018, involving seven bids.
Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division stated, “Today’s sentences demonstrate our commitment to safeguarding the integrity of the military contracting process. We will hold accountable those who enrich themselves at the expense of our armed forces and ultimately the public.”
U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs for the Eastern District of Texas noted, “Servicing heavy military vehicles and equipment are critical to the functioning of the U.S. military and its mission, so anticompetitive practices such as those used by the defendants in this case harm the military, taxpayers, and legitimate businesses alike. The Eastern District of Texas will vigorously prosecute those who compromise the integrity of the procurement process for greed and personal gain.”
Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Michael Curran of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division’s Major Procurement Fraud Field Office emphasized, “This sentencing should stand as a deterrent to those who would engage in fraud and corruption for personal gain and is a testament to the thorough and professional effort of our investigative partnerships with the United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI. We will diligently continue our efforts to pursue those engaged in criminal activity that impacts the integrity of the U.S. Government and the U.S. Army.”
Special Agent in Charge Chad Yarbrough of the FBI Dallas Field Office concluded, “Today’s sentences are the result of the tireless work and dedication of multiple agencies to hold these individuals accountable for conspiring to defraud the United States government. The public can rest assured that we remain committed to aggressively pursuing anyone that uses government programs for their own personal gain.”
Source: Justice Gov