Three men were arrested in Colorado on Wednesday of this week pursuant to warrants issued in connection with an indictment charging them with conspiring to pay and receive bribes in exchange for creating an opportunity to commit a fraud against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The defendants are also charged with paying and receiving bribes, or aiding and abetting the payment of bribes.
Dwane Nevins, a VA contracting official at the time of the alleged crimes, was separately charged in another count with extortion under color of official right and in two counts with violating the federal conflict of interest statute.
The following is alleged in the indictment:
- Dwane Nevins — a small business specialist at the VA’s Network Contracting Office in Colorado — agreed to take bribes offered by Robert Revis, Anthony Bueno and an undercover FBI agent to help them manipulate the process for bidding on federal contracts with the VA.
- Revis and Bueno, working with Nevins, agreed to submit fraudulent bids from service-disabled-veteran-owned small businesses under contract with their consulting company so that federal contracts would be set aside for only those companies. As Bueno allegedly explained, they would then “own all the dogs on the track.”
- Nevins, Bueno and Revis worked to conceal the nature of the bribe payments by either kicking back to Nevins a portion of the payments made to their consulting company, or by asking their consulting company’s clients to pay Nevins for sham training classes related to federal contracting.
The indictment also alleges that, after complaining about not being paid by Revis and Bueno for his participation in the scheme, Nevins used his official position at the VA to extort approximately $10,000 from an undercover FBI agent, telling the agent that “the train don’t go without me. You know what I mean? I’m the engine. I’m the caboose. I’m the engine room.” Nevins also allegedly told the undercover FBI agent: “This is a business and businessmen need to get paid . . . . so I can have my Christmas, you know what I’m saying?”
The indictment alleges that the conspirators attempted to rig the process related to two particular contracts, both of which related to medical equipment and not to the construction of any VA facilities. The first contract related to the procurement of LC bead particle embolization products by a VA hospital in Salt Lake City, and the second contract related to the procurement of durable medical equipment for VA facilities located throughout the region.
The case was jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General.
Readers are reminded that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.