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Former Project Manager at Southern Illinois University Sentenced for Lying to Federal Agents

On August 21, 2015, Kwa Mister was sentenced in U.S. District Court, East St Louis, Illinois, to 3 years’ probation and $2,700 in fines for lying to federal agents. Mister was the Program Manager for the Highway Construction Preparatory Training Program (HCPTP) at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Illinois (SIUE). SIUE had entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to be the fiscal agent for the HCPTP, which is a program designed to help ensure that a diversified, properly trained workforce is available for road construction projects in Illinois.

An investigation and an audit uncovered over a dozen purchase orders, contracts and sole source justification forms concerning the procurement of services totaling $85,500 from Phoenix Support Services, which was owned by Mister’s mother. SIUE billed, and was paid by IDOT for these costs. Mister initiated the procurement of the sole source contracts with Phoenix Support Services, and he concealed the family relationship and potential conflict of interest from SIUE.

While Phoenix Support Services was under investigation, Mister lied to SIUE officials as to whether the owner of Phoenix Support Services was his mother. Mister also lied to an OIG agent about whether he had provided false information to SIUE.

This case was worked jointly with the U.S. Department of Labor, OIG and with assistance from the FBI.