Veterans Affairs Official Pleads Guilty to Six Corruption-Related Counts Arising from Scheme to Take Bribes To Rig Federal Contracts
Business Associates, Charged with Offering and Arranging for the Payments, Have Also Pleaded Guilty
DENVER – U.S. Attorney Jason R. Dunn announces that former U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official Dwane Nevins, age 55, pleaded guilty last week to an indictment charging him with corruption related crimes, arising from a scheme to take payments from an undercover FBI agent. Earlier this week, on September 17, 2019, his co-conspirator Anthony Bueno pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring with Nevins to make those payments. Another businessman involved with the scheme, Robert Revis, pleaded guilty in April 2019.
As described in the indictment, Dwane Nevins — a small business specialist at the VA’s Network Contracting Office in Colorado — agreed to take bribes offered by Revis, Bueno, and an undercover FBI agent to help them manipulate the process for bidding on federal contracts with the VA. Revis and Bueno, working with Nevins, agreed to submit fraudulent bids from service-disabled-veteran-owned small businesses under contract with their consulting company so that federal contracts would be set aside for only those companies. As Bueno allegedly explained, they would then “own all the dogs on the track.” Nevins, Bueno and Revis worked to conceal the nature of the bribe payments by either kicking back to Nevins a portion of the payments made to their consulting company, or by asking their consulting company’s clients to pay Nevins for sham training classes related to federal contracting.
The indictment also alleges that, after complaining about not being paid by Revis and Bueno for his participation in the scheme, Nevins used his official position at the VA to extort approximately $10,000 from an undercover FBI agent, telling the agent that “the train don’t go without me. You know what I mean? I’m the engine. I’m the caboose. I’m the engine room.” Nevins also allegedly told the undercover FBI agent “this is a business and businessmen need to get paid . . . . so I can have my Christmas, you know what I’m saying?”
The indictment alleges that the conspirators attempted to rig the process related to two contracts, both of which related to medical equipment and not to the construction of any VA facilities. The first contract related to the procurement of LC bead particle embolization products by a VA hospital in Salt Lake City and the second related to the procurement of durable medical equipment for VA facilities located throughout the region.
“Corruption in the government procurement process has consequences,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “Here the defendant participated in manipulating the bid process so that a specific company could prevail. That is wrong, it is criminal, and there will be swift consequences for anyone that engages in such behavior.”
“Dwane Nevins’ scheme attempted to take advantage of the system serving our veterans and hurt small businesses,” said FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips. “The FBI thanks the multi-agency investigative team and the USAO for holding Nevins and his cohorts accountable for their criminal activities.”
Gregg Hirstein, Special Agent in Charge, VA Office of Inspector General, said, “This case should serve as a deterrent to any government employees tempted to unlawfully profit from their position of public trust. The VA Office of Inspector General will always vigorously pursue allegations of corruption by VA officials because our nations veterans deserve to be served by a workforce of the highest integrity.”
“Taking bribes is an egregious form of corruption that violates the public’s trust and deprives eligible businesses opportunities to compete fairly for Federal contracting opportunities,” said SBA OIG’s Western Region Special Agent-in-Charge Weston King. “SBA OIG and its law enforcement partners will aggressively pursue individuals that seek personal gain in their service as public officials. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their leadership and dedication throughout this investigation.”
Dwane Nevins is scheduled to be sentenced on December 20, 2019. He faces a maximum of 65 years’ imprisonment. Anthony Bueno is scheduled to be sentenced on January 7, 2020. Robert Revis is scheduled to be sentenced on January 24, 2020.
The case was jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General.
The defendant is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bryan D. Fields and Hetal J. Doshi.