December 16, 2019
Wisconsin Company Owner Sentenced For His Role in DBE Fraud Scheme
On December 16, 2019, in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, Brian Ganos, owner of Sonag Company, Inc. (Sonag), was convicted and sentenced to 78 months’ imprisonment and 2 years’ supervised release. Charged with participating in a complex Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) fraud scheme, Ganos previously pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. Other charges against him were dismissed at the time of sentencing. He was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and a $200 special assessment and to forfeit four vehicles, one escrow account, and his interest in two timeshare properties.
Ganos and a number of co-conspirators were indicted in the same court on April 3, 2018. On May 1, 2018, prosecutors filed a superseding indictment that tied the co-conspirators to the fraud scheme and included two additional charges of mail fraud for Ganos.
According to the indictment, Ganos operated and controlled companies with straw owners to gain access to Government contracts for which he was not qualified. For example, although Nuvo Construction (Nuvo) was certified as a DBE and listed as owned and operated by Jorge Lopez, Ganos allegedly ran and controlled the company. Ganos used Nuvo’s DBE status for Sonag, which was not DBE qualified, to secure Government contracts.
The indictment also alleged that Ganos also conspired with Sonag, Nuvo, and others to conceal the nature, source, and location of the fraud proceeds. In consultation with the co-conspirators, Ganos and others allegedly directed bookkeeping, accounting, and payroll procedures to facilitate and conceal the scheme.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Veteran Affairs OIG, Small Business Administration OIG, General Services Administration OIG, Army Criminal Investigation Division, and Department of Defense OIG.