Brian Ganos, the owner of Sonag Construction, has agreed to plead guilty to fraud charges in a case that accused him of winning millions in federal contracts by exploiting a program set up to help disadvantaged businesses.
Federal prosecutors charged Ganos, his business and others in April 2018 after a five-year investigation into a scheme that defrauded the federal government out of more than $200 million by establishing a web of false companies in order to win set-aside contracts. Sonag and its related companies have won work on a number of prominent projects by exploiting bidding incentives meant to help companies owned by women, minorities and veterans, prosecutors argued.
Under the deal, Ganos will plead guilty to one count of wire fraud and another of mail fraud. Prosecutors will seek a prison term of 6.5 years and a fine of $5,000, although Ganos’ lawyers are free to argue for a lighter sentence in court. Four other people have already pleaded guilty to charges related to the investigation, including people who acted as owners of companies that Ganos secretly controlled.
Prosecutors meanwhile agreed to drop other charges against Ganos. Those charges were spelled out in a 24-count indictment, as part of the deal. Ganos also agreed not to contest the forfeiture of a Chevy Corvette, nearly $2 million in cash, a Colorado condo and the company’s offices on West Florist Avenue. all property investigators confiscated after the indictment.
The deal also imposes a $500,000 judgement on Ganos, to be paid through the sale of a number of assets discovered through the investigation, including interest in two Disney timeshares, a 1967 Ford Shelby Mustang and three other vehicles.
Ganos also agreed not to challenge the efforts of any government agency to prevent him, or any entity he has an interest in, from government contracting in the future.
Although Sonag Construction appeared to be shutting down in late March as a result of the federal case, according to court documents, several affiliated companies are still operating without Ganos at the helm. Sonag Ready Mix, a concrete contractor, continues to operate after Ganos sold his stake in that firm in February 2018. By early April, Nuvo Construction, another firm linked to Ganos, was working to transfer its outstanding contracts to a company led by Nuvo executives, according to court filings.Follow @natebeck9