Two Brothers Charged with Defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 15, 2013|
ROCHESTER, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Raymond Testa, 60, of Rochester, New York, and Gerald Testa, 55, of Ontario, New York, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with major fraud against the United States. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, the defendants own and operate Testa Construction Inc. Starting in approximately 2008, the brothers started a second business and represented it to be a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, when in fact it was not. In order to qualify as a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, one must be a veteran with a service connected disability. The complaint further alleges that the defendants applied for and received government contracts from the Department of Veteran Affairs, which were set aside for the Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business program, totaling approximately $13,000,000, funding that they would not otherwise be entitled to.
“These defendants stand accused of pretending to be disabled service veterans,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “In doing so, the defendants deprived other small business owners of financial opportunities which the Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business program is specifically designed to assist.”
The complaint is the culmination of an investigation by special agents from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs-Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey G. Hughes, and special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.