Friday, February 18, 2011

Convicted in a $834 million Fraud

by Gary Snyder

The former CEO, Robert "Bob" Jones, of the El Paso charity, now defunct National Center for the Employment of the Disabled, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay $65 million restitution to his victims for embezzling government funds and corrupting elected officials. The judge also sentenced Patrick Woods, a former board member, to three years in prison and ordered him to pay $1.7 million in restitution, according to a statement from the U.S. Justice Department. In 2006, NCED, a clothing company, was once the primary supplier of chemical-warfare suits for the military. It was raided by federal officials to see if was in compliance with regulations which required that at least 75 percent of NCED workers filling government orders be blind or severely disabled. It was concluded that only about 7 percent of workers were handicapped while Jones ran the company. Jones pleaded guilty in 2009. Prosecutors said he admitted lying about the number of blind or severely handicapped NCED workers to qualify for no-bid government contracts. Jones also admitted that between late 1998 and March 2006, he paid cash and other bribes in the form of campaign contributions and gratuities to secure vendor contracts between Access Healthsource, a subsidiary of NCED, and El Paso County and the El Paso, Ysleta and Socorro Independent School Districts. The company had been awarded contracts totaling about $834 million in the previous decade.
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