Antitrust Law Daily Former construction company owner pleads guilty to obstructing justice
Thursday, June 23, 2016

Former construction company owner pleads guilty to obstructing justice

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

On the heels of a guilty plea from MCC Construction Corporation (MCC) to conspiring to commit fraud on the United States by illegally obtaining government contracts that were intended for small, disadvantaged businesses, Thomas Harper—a former officer and owner of MCC—has pleaded guilty to conspiring to obstruct justice before the Small Business Administration (SBA). The Department of Justice announced on June 22 that Harper agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $165,711 (U.S. v. Harper, Case 1:16-cr-00095-KBJ).

Harper was charged in a criminal information on June 6, in the federal district court in Washington, D.C. According to the charge, during January 2009, the defendant made false representations to the SBA. The goal of the alleged conspiracy was to obstruct a pending U.S. government proceeding into whether a bid submitted by MCC on behalf of an unnamed company, which was certified to participate in SBA's 8(a) program for businesses controlled by a socially or economically disadvantaged U.S. citizens, violated SBA rules and regulations.

Harper could face a potential range of 10 to 16 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, according to the Justice Department. A status hearing is scheduled for September 20.

MCC’s plea. MCC, a construction management company/general contractor, was charged in January with engaging in a scheme to defraud the SBA. MCC has admitted to securing government contracts by conspiring with two unnamed companies that were certified to participate in the SBA Section 8a program. The two companies did not perform work on the projects; however, they retained a guaranteed percentage of each contract for simply obtaining the contracts for MCC. SBA 8(a)-certified companies are required to perform 15 percent or more of the work with their own employees.

For the contracts obtained through this scheme on which MCC made a profit, MCC’s profit was at least $1,269,294, according to the government. MCC has agreed to forfeit this profit.

Companies: MCC Construction Corp.

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