Pennsylvania Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Make False Statements and Defraud the Government
ST. LOUIS, MO—REGINA DANKO, of Ivyland, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to defraud the United States in federal court this morning. Danko, the principal shareholder of Tri-Ark Industries, Inc., a government contracting firm located in the Philadelphia area, admitted to conspiring to make false statements and defraud the government in connection with a five-year contract to provide janitorial services at the Robert A. Young, Jr. federal building in downtown St. Louis.
According to the plea agreement, Danko conspired with others to provide a false joint venture agreement and other false representations to government contracting officials that the firm bidding on the company was owned in the majority and controlled by a service disabled veteran to comply with rules for government contracts set aside for firms owned by such veterans. Danko admitted that the veteran with whom she partnered was merely a straw person and, contrary to her representations to the government, had no duties with the contract and accepted only small annual payment so that his name and status could be used. Danko also admitted the project manager at the Robert A. Young, Jr. building and another employee of Tri-Ark participated in the scheme. From 2007 to 2012, Tri-Ark collected more than $8.7 million dollars under this contract and almost all of the profits earned on the contract were retained by Tri-Ark to the benefit of Danko.
Danko pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. At sentencing, which was set for December 11, 2014, she faces up to five years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000 or both. In addition to these penalties, Danko agreed to the criminal forfeiture of more than $2.4 million dollars, which was seized by investigators. Danko has also acquiesced to the non-renewal of a successor contract she held at the Robert A. Young, Jr. building with an unrelated service-disabled veteran.
The case was investigated by the General Services Administration-Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs-Office of the Inspector General and the St. Louis Division of the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Albus is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri.