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Tennessee Woman Enters Pretrial Diversion for DBE Fraud

On March 9, 2017, Kimberly Willis agreed to a pretrial diversion in the Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. Attorney’s Office for her part in a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) fraud scheme. She had been charged with conspiring with others to defraud and commit offenses against the United States by making false statements concerning highway projects and wire fraud.
Willis is the former owner of Columbia Construction Company, a Columbia, Tennessee, concrete company. Columbia Construction was a woman-owned DBE that closed and liquidated its assets in 2014. From approximately 2010 through 2012, Columbia Construction served as a pass-through for a non-DBE concrete company, which allowed a large Tennessee-based prime contractor to claim DBE credit on a federally funded project in Gallatin, Tennessee. Willis admitted to accepting payment for the use of her company’s DBE status but did not actually perform any work on the project.
Willis is subject to 12 months of supervision by the Pretrial Services Division. She is unable to possess a firearm and is required to cooperate with the Federal Highway Administration and the Tennessee Department of Transportation in her debarment from the DBE program. Willis also has 6 months to pay restitution of $9,448, the amount of her profits during the fraudulent activity.