Four Indicted For Defrauding Federal Program Intended For Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses In Connection With A Construction Contract For Cancer Treatment Center At Bay Pines VA Medical Center

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the return of an indictment charging Matthew West (52, Lantana, Florida), Kevin Kutina (61, Ramona, California), Roberto Gonzalez (58, Palmetto Bay, Florida), and William Gonzalez (51, Orlando, Florida) with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and substantive counts of wire fraud and major fraud against the United States for the conspirators’ alleged roles in fraudulently obtaining a multi-million dollar construction contract. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each of the conspiracy and wire fraud counts, and a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment on the major fraud against the United States count. The indictment also puts the defendants on notice of the United States intends to forfeit at least $4,835,035, which represents the proceeds of the criminal conduct.

According to the indictment, in July 2016, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a request for bid proposals for a contract to construct the Cancer Infusion Therapy Center (CITC) at Bay Pines VA Medical Center in Pinellas County, Florida. The construction contract, valued between $5 million and $10 million, was for the construction of a 14,909 square-foot building to augment the Bay Pines VA Medical Center’s existing radiation oncology clinic and enable VA health care providers to treat more veterans diagnosed with various types of cancer in an environment that was accessible and patient-centered. The CITC contract was set-aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs), which required only bids from qualified businesses be considered.

The indictment alleges that the conspirators utilized a company owned and operated by service-disabled veteran Roberto Gonzalez and William Gonzalez, Maxon Groupe, LLC (Maxon), to submit a bid containing false statements and omissions to be awarded the contract. The conspirators falsely represented qualified employees from Kevcon, Inc. (Kevcon), owned and operated by Kevin Kutina, would serve in supervisory roles per a teaming agreement between Maxon and Kevcon. Additionally, the conspirators failed to disclose to the VA contracting officials that Maxon was a pass-through for Matthew West’s company, West Construction, Inc., which managed nearly all the work for the CITC contract and received most of the payment for the same. West Construction, Inc. was not a company eligible for the SDVOSB set-aside contract. As a result of the false statements and omissions within the bid proposal, the VA awarded the contract to Maxon.

The indictment further alleges that between March 2017 and January 2019, the conspirators submitted multiple invoices for payment. As a result, the U.S. Treasury paid Maxon approximately $4.8 million. During this same period, the conspirators transferred approximately $4.2 million of those funds to West, and in turn, West transferred approximately $1.1 million to Kevcon.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty. 

This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany E. Fields.

Originally published at https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl/pr/four-indicted-defrauding-federal-program-intended-service-disabled-veteran-owned-small

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