Indian-American jailed for 15 months for fraud

Indian-American jailed for 15 months for fraudWASHINGTON: A 61-year-old Indian-American businessman has been jailed for 15 months and fined for conspiring to illegally obtain over USD six million meant for small and disadvantaged businesses in the US.

Tarsem Singh, a businessman from Fairfax in Virginia, pled guilty to the charge in last December in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

He was sentenced by Judge B Walton who also fined Singh USD 25,000 and ordered him to pay USD 119,165 in restitution.

After his prison term, Singh will be placed on three years of supervised release and required to perform community service.

He was sentenced on Tuesday to 15 months in prison for conspiring to commit fraud on the US by illegally obtaining over USD 6 million in contracts that were meant for small, disadvantaged businesses, According to the US Attorney’s office district of Columbia.

The fraudulent activities involved the US Small Business Administration’s program which was created to help small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the American economy and access the federal procurement market.

According to the government’s evidence, from January 12, 2000 through January 12, 2009, Singh and his wife, through a firm described in court documents as “Company A” which specialized in construction and renovating and altering buildings, obtained millions in federal contracts.

Shortly after “Company B” was certified, Singh caused himself to be named its vice president. As the vice president of “Company B”, Singh was contacted by government personnel about federal contracts and, in some circumstances, made the decision on whether the company would bid on these projects.

Throughout the life of the contracts obtained through this scheme, “Company B” had only one employee who performed work on the projects it was awarded. Singh used a combination of “Company A” personnel and sub-contractors to staff projects awarded to “Company B”.

From August 2009 through December 2010, “Company B” obtained a total of USD 6,808,552 in more than 25 federal contracts in this manner from the General Services Administration. The scheme generated at least USD 90,397 in profits for “Company A”. In addition, Singh received at least USD 28,768 in compensation attributable to the contracts.

To disguise the activities, Singh took a variety of steps, including obtaining magnetic logos.–PTI

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