Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Couple Convicted in Veterans' Fraud by Greeneville Jury
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A North Carolina couple has been convicted by a Greeneville, Tenn. jury on charges that they defrauded a program designed to assist businesses owned by disabled veterans.
Convicted after a 13-day jury trial were Ricky A. Lanier and Katrina R. Lanier of LaGrange, N.C.
The jury found them guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and major fraud against the U.S. government.
According to court records, Ricky Lanier, 48, enlisted a friend and disabled veteran to claim he was the owner of Kylee Construction Co. The friend, who was supposed to be managing the firm on a daily basis, was actually working for a government contractor in Afghanistan.
According to prosecutors, the Laniers also used a college roommate's company, JMR Investments, to obtain construction contracts from the National Park Service. The work was performed at the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
In addition the Laniers, in violation of program regulations, subcontracted with other firms to do the actual work.
The couple agreed to forfeit $170,000 in funds and five houses they own in North Carolina.
Overall the two firms obtained over $14 million in government contracts including projects at Veterans Administration facility in Mountain Home, Tenn.
The Laniers are scheduled for a sentencing hearing on June 20. Ricky Lanier could face up to 60 years in prison and fines of up to ! million. His wife, 43, could face a 50 year sentence and $750,000 in fines.