A former Veterans Affairs official in Colorado has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison on seven corruption and fraud charges linked to manipulating small business bids for federal contracts.
Dwane Nevins, 55, Robert Revis, 61 and Anthony Bueno, 45, were arrested on charges in this case in September 2018.
Nevins pleaded guilty to his charges in September 2019.
While working as a VA official, Nevins agreed to take bribes from Revis and Bueno and an undercover FBI agent. As part of their agreement, he would manipulate the bidding process on federal contracts with the VA, according to court documents.
Dozens of counselors say that new metric-driven expectations are driving counselors to quit their jobs, retire early and that is hurting care for veterans.
Revis and Bueno submitted fraudulent bids from service-disabled-veteran owned small businesses under a contract with their consulting company. That ensured the contracts would be set aside for those companies, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office statement.
“Public corruption is one of my office’s top priorities,” said Jason Dunn, U.S. Attorney District of Colorado. “And when it comes at the expense of our veterans by someone that is supposed to be helping them, we will vigorously prosecute those corrupt actors.”
The method helped the men “own all the dogs on the track,” Bueno said in court documents.
The men made “kickback” payments to Nevins, from a portion of their proceeds or by having their consulting company clients pay Nevins for “sham training classes related to federal contracting.”
Nevins took a $4,500 cash bribe from an undercover FBI agent at one training session in Las Vegas, Nevada.
But, Nevins got even greedier.
After complaining about not being paid by Bueno and Revis, Nevins extorted $10,000 from the undercover FBI agent.
He brazenly told 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.”
He told the agent that the scheme was a business and businessmen need to get paid, “…so I can have my Christmas, you know what I’m saying?”
Bueno was previously sentenced to 30 months in this case and 63 months in a separate case involving a wire fraud scheme which he made false statements about investment opportunities to take more than $1 million from several victims, according to the statement.
In that case, Bueno and his girlfriend devised a scheme he used on family and friends to invest in “surety bonds” for government construction projects that could return 2,500 percent interest.
He has been ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution to his victims.
Revis pleaded guilty in April 2019 to a single charge of “supplementing the salary of a federal official.” He is scheduled for sentencing next week.