SHREWSBURY – A Monmouth County company will pay $7.6 million after falsely claiming to be a veteran-owned business in order to receive government contracts, officials said.
The government alleged that VE Source LLC, based in Shrewsbury, along with the company’s owners, Sherman Barton and Christopher Neary, and a related entity, Vertical Source LLC, falsely claimed that that company was eligible for government contracts that were specifically for companies owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans.
Officials said VE Source obtained contracts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), a component of the U.S. Department of Defense, totaling more than $16.5 million.
In addition, the charges allege that VE Source, Neary and Barton undercut the express Congressional purpose in enacting laws intended to encourage the awards of federal contracts to businesses owned by said veterans.
On August 2, VE Source agreed to pay $7.6 million in connection to the scheme. The United States entered a separate settlement agreement with Neary, Barton and Vertical Source, under which Neary will pay $120,000, Barton will pay $75,000 and Vertical Source will pay $180,000 to resolve claims made in a lawsuit filed by the United States under the False Claims Act.
U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger credited special agents of the General Services Administration, Office of Inspector General, New York Field Investigations Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Joseph Dattoria; the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins; and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office, under the direction Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Hegarty, with the investigation leading to this resolution.
The lawsuit resolved through this agreement is captioned United States v. Neary et al., Civil Action No. 20-14167 (D.N.J.). The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.