A Slap On The Wrist? Contractor Avoids Jail Time For SDVOSB Fraud

A man who lied about being a service-disabled veteran–and received nearly $6 million in VA SDVOSB set-asides–will not spend a single day in jail.

According to a Department of Justice press release, the man in question, John Witty, was sentenced to a fine, probation, and community service.  Yes, Witty’s wallet will be lighter, and maybe there were extenuating circumstances not evident from the press release–but the lack of jail time seems a tad generous.

Witty is the former owner and operator of Gray Bear Construction Company.  Although Witty is not a service-disabled veteran, he lied to the VA about his status.  Between 2009 and 2011, Gray Bear received more than $5.8 million in VA SDVOSB set-asides.

The VA’s Office of Inspector General eventually investigated the matter, and referred it to the DOJ.  The DOJ prosecuted Witty in federal court in Oregon.  Witty was apparently found guilty (though as a result of a trial or a plea is not clear from the press release).

Judge Michael Mosman ordered Witty to pay a fine of $206,844 and perform 100 hours of community service.  Witty was also sentenced to five years of probation.  However, Witty apparently avoided jail time.

There is no mistaking that for most people, a fine of more than $200,000 is a big deal.   But I am still struck by the fact that Witty will not serve a single day in the Big House.

After all, this was not “gray area” case involving an arcane interpretation of the SDVOSB regulations, one in which reasonable minds could differ.  Instead, Witty apparently lied about being a service-disabled veteran in the first place.

This was a case of blatant procurement fraud and cost legitimate SDVOSBs nearly $6 million in business.  To me, that means that John Witty should be doing time.

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