April 15, 2004 – A federal grand jury has handed up a 32-count indictment charging St. Croix businessman George Flemming and former V.I. Housing Authority procurement specialist Walter John Jr. with fraudulently bilking the territory out of federal funds designated to repair 50 vacant public housing units.
According to the indictment, Flemming received more than $613,500 from John through the Housing Authority.
The grand jury, sitting on St. Croix, also charged that John received kickbacks of more than $30,000 from Flemming, whose company, Mr. G's Maintenance Services, repaired the St. Croix units at inflated prices from approximately January 1998 to September 1999.
The two are formally charged with conspiring to commit and committing wire fraud and program fraud. The wire fraud charges, according to a release issued on Thursday by the U.S. Attorney's Office, "is based on the fraudulent deprivation of the Virgin Islands government and its residents of the honest services of a territorial government official."
U.S. Attorney David Nissman said the case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of the Inspector General.
The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and program fraud is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum for wire fraud is also five years in prison and $250,000 fine. And the maximum for program fraud is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
No court date has yet been set.
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