U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Wisconsin
November 8, 2023
Jonathan Walker Falsely Claimed His Business Was a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business
MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Jonathan Walker, 46, Tomah, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 15 months in federal prison for wire fraud. The prison term will be followed by one year of supervised release. Judge Peterson also ordered Walker to pay restitution in the amount of $72,000 and to pay a fine of $10,000. Judge Peterson ordered Walker to report to prison on January 4, 2024.
Walker pleaded guilty on July 11, 2023, to devising and participating in a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Walker owned and operated Walker Investment Properties (WIP) in Tomah, which was a contracting business that did heating and air conditioning services. Walker fraudulently obtained two DoD contracts to do work at Fort McCoy, falsely claiming that WIP was a service-disabled veteran owned small business (SDVOSB). WIP obtained two SDVOSB contracts worth a total of $1,927,536. WIP received a total of $482,577 from these two contracts.
Walker did not qualify as a SDVOSB, because he had never served in the military, much less been disabled as a result of his military service. The government’s proof showed that Walker was a 100% owner of WIP and ran the company.
As part of the government contracting system, a government contractor is required to sign a Federal Acquisition Regulation report under penalty of perjury certifying that the government contractor is providing true and correct information to the General Services Administration and will abide by all of the federal regulations pertaining to DoD contracting. Walker did this eight times from 2015 to 2019, falsely certifying he was a SDVOSB when he was not.
At today’s sentencing, Judge Peterson explained that a substantial sentence was warranted to send a message of general deterrence to other defense contractors, noting that the integrity of the set-aside program depends on the honesty of the contractors, and cheaters will be dealt with severely.
“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to honoring and protecting those who served in America’s armed forces,” stated United States Attorney O’Shea. “In part, we demonstrate that commitment by working with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those who fraudulently pose as veterans for financial advantage.”
”The Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) is committed to working with our investigative partners to bring to justice those who abuse Government set-aside programs designed to encourage and support service-disabled veterans and woman and minority-owned small businesses,” stated Darrin K. Jones, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, DCIS, Southeast Field Office. ”Schemes like this undermine the integrity of these noble programs and cannot be allowed to continue.”
Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Ryan of the General Services Administration Office of Inspector General added, “The GSA OIG will work with law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue cases involving anyone who falsifies information to fraudulently win government contracts. Legitimate service-disabled veteran businesses deserve a level playing field when competing for contract opportunities.”
The charges against Walker were the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense - Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigation Service, General Services Administration - Office of Inspector General, and the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber handled the prosecution.
Source: U.S. Attorney's Office press release