The Justice Department announced in Denver last week the sentencing of a businessman who engaged in a conspiracy with a Veterans Affairs’ contracting official to manipulate contract awards to benefit a consulting company that purportedly represented service-disabled veteran owned small businesses.
Anthony Bueno was sentenced to serve 30 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, for his role in a conspiracy to bribe a VA official so that clients of his company would gain an unfair advantage in the VA contracting process. Bueno was remanded into custody immediately after the sentencing hearing.
The VA’s contracting official, Dwane Nevins, previously pleaded guilty in September 2019 to every count of an indictment charging him with this scheme, including counts of conspiracy, receiving bribes, extortion, and criminal conflicts of interests. He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 19, 2020.
According to court records:
- Bueno and his business partner, Robert Revis, agreed to help an undercover FBI agent, who was posing as a veteran and small business owner, bribe Nevins, a contracting specialist at the VA’s Network Contracting Office in Colorado.
- As part of the bribery scheme, Bueno and Revis, working with Nevins, agreed to submit bids from small businesses owned by veterans disabled during military service (one of whom was the undercover FBI agent) under contract with Buenon and Revis’ consulting company so that federal contracts would be set aside for only those companies.
- As Bueno explained to the undercover agent, the conspirators would then “own all the dogs on the track,” meaning their clients were guaranteed to get the contracts.
- Bueno, Revis and Nevins worked to conceal the nature of the bribe payments by either kicking back to Nevins a portion of the payments made to the consulting company, or by asking the consulting company’s clients to pay Nevins directly for sham training classes related to federal contracting.
Robert Revis pleaded guilty in April 2019 to an Information charging him with a single count of supplementing the salary of a federal official. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 2, 2020. Bueno pleaded guilty on September 17, 2019.
Bueno has also pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money arising from a completely separate wire fraud scheme in which he used false representations about investment opportunities to take over a million dollars from several victims. Sentencing in that case, pending before United States District Judge William J. Martinez, is scheduled for January 23, 2019.
The case was jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, with substantial assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General.