Former government official charged with allegedly trying to defraud small business owners

Chambersburg, Pa. (WHTM) – A man in Chambersburg, Franklin County, has been charged with conspiracy to violate the Major Fraud Act.

According to US Attorney Gerard M. Karam, the indictment alleges that between 2003 and 2014, 67-year-old James Cocagana, who was chief of the engineering and planning division at the Directorate of Public Works at Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, U.S. Small Business Administration Worked with several unnamed co-conspirators to defeat the laws and purposes of the 8(a) Business Development Program.

According to the United States Small Business Association, the 8(a) program requires socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to have unconditional control over their companies. It also requires these companies to commit to performing at least 15% of the cost of any contracts with their own employees.

When companies meet these criteria, they can enter the 8(a) program for a period of up to nine years and then bid on contracts reserved for companies in the 8(a) program. These reserved contract opportunities are often referred to as “set-aside” contracts.

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It is alleged that Cocagna advanced federal government contracts to some participants in the 8(a) program, knowing that those companies and their existing employees were not playing a meaningful role in fulfilling the contracts awarded to them. Were.

The information in the release alleges that for more than a decade, Cocagna conspired with three other men who worked in the field construction, 8(a) program to obtain separate contracts in Letterkenny. A series of participants were controlled by three unknown persons.

Participants in the 8(a) program include a company called 8(A) Company 1who was affiliated with another unnamed person known in the information as a fourth conspirator.

Beginning in 2007, it is alleged that Cocagna and four co-conspirators began a conspiracy to obtain 8(a) program “different” construction contracts at Army depots, the release said.

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Coccagna reportedly recommended that Letterkenny choose the contract office. 8(A) Company 1
for a series of contracts because he knew 8(A) Company 1 affiliation with his three co-conspirators.

to reveal it 8(A) Company 1 15% was meeting the self-exhibition requirement, the co-conspirators allegedly took actual laborers to the site at army depots 8(A) Company 1 Payroll. The same practice was allegedly carried out with other unnamed 8(a) program participants since 2003.

It is alleged that Cocagna was aware of this practice and knew that Conspirator 4 and its current employees were not working at the site. It is also alleged that the co-conspirator was rarely present at 4 Letterkenny Army Depot after an initial meeting with Coccagna and other unnamed conspirators in 2007, the release noted.

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The information in the documents also alleges that Co-conspirator 1 requested, and that Coccagna provided confidential information to Co-conspirator 1 to help Co-conspirators 1, 2, 3, and 4 win a $60 million construction contract in 2009. Can get help

The total value of contracts associated with this alleged conspiracy was more than $100 million.

The matter was investigated by the US Department of Defense’s Office of the Inspector General, the Department of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and the US Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General. Assistant US Attorney Ravi Rommel Sharma is prosecuting the case.

Criminal information is only an allegation. All persons charged are considered
Innocent until proven guilty in court.

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