A Massachusetts man was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with recruiting veterans as figurehead owners of a construction company in order to receive specialized government contracts.
David Gorski, 51, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, one year of supervised release, and ordered to pay a fine of $1 million. In June 2016, Gorski was found guilty by a jury following a 12-day trial of conspiring to defraud the United States by impairing the lawful governmental function of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the General Services Administration, the Army, and the Navy in the implementation and administration of the Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Program. He was also convicted of four counts of wire fraud.
The purpose of the SDVOSB program is to provide federal contracting assistance to service-disabled veterans who own small businesses by creating set-aside and sole-source acquisitions for such businesses.
In 2006, Gorski established a company, Legion Construction, Inc., after recruiting a disabled Korean War veteran to act as the company’s straw owner for the sole purpose of obtaining federal construction contracts set aside under the SDVOSB Program. When the veteran’s health deteriorated, Gorski added a second disabled veteran, Peter Ianuzzi, to serve as the figurehead owner of Legion. Legion acquired more than $113 million in federal contracts between 2006 and November 2010, after Gorski falsely represented to federal contracting officers that the company was owned and operated by service-disabled veterans.
In March 2010, a different SDVOSB registered a bid protest against Legion, alleging that Legion should not have been awarded a contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at its medical center in White River Junction, VT. The company specifically challenged Legion’s SDVOSB status, noting that it appeared that Gorski, not one of the veterans, was the person running Legion.
After retaining the services of a large Boston law firm to assist him, Gorski filed an opposition to the bid protest that contained backdated documents containing false and misleading information. The Small Business Administration denied the bid protest based on Legion’s submission.
Gorski then began exploring ways to siphon money from Legion that would not appear as compensation exceeding the pay of the nominal veteran owner, Ianuzzi, in violation of federal regulations, including Ianuzzi “gifting” him $900,000 and establishing private bank accounts into which the company would deposit $2.5 million for Gorski’s benefit. Before the bank accounts could be opened, however, a federal grand jury issued subpoenas to Legion and several witnesses.