This week, it was announced that a father and son team had pleaded guilty in a federal court. The duo won more than $4 million of federal contracts using false financial statements and other lies. The father, who was a self-described government contracting consultant, also admitted to stealing more than a half million dollars from his consulting clients. 68-year-old Joseph Glenn Osborne Sr. pleaded guilty to wire fraud and participating in a wire fraud conspiracy with his son.

31-year-old Joseph Glenn Osborne II pleaded guilty to falsely making a writing to obtain money from the United States. Osborne Sr. admitted to stealing $588,489 from three small businesses that retained him as a government contracting consultant. The defendant promised to represent the victims and help them obtain and fulfill contacts with the United States Department of Agriculture. Instead, the father used his position and control of the victims’ web passwords to change their banking information and control where payments would be sent.

When the USDA paid the clients, the money was actually diverted to Osborne Sr. and not the victims. The father also admitted to lying to his clients when questioned about the missing payments. According to the plea agreement, Osborne Sr. used some of the money to put a down payment on a $2.7 million mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, California. He also forged further emails to hide the real source of the money.

In 2013 and after being terminated by his clients, the father and son pair agreed to submit fraudulent financial statements to ensure that the son’s new business, Worldwide Connect LLC, would be approved as a USDA Contractor. The defendants recruited a friend of the son to prepare false financial statements that overstated the company’s financial health. The defendants also admitted to falsely claiming to the USDA that none of WWC’s principals had been suspended or debarred from federal contracting.

As a result of their behavior, Worldwide Connect was approved as a federal contractor and won more than $4 million of USDA food supply contracts. Four of the five contracts were terminated after WWC failed to deliver more than 100,000 cases of fruit juice and raisins to community food banks and lunch programs. The defendants also admitted that WWC caused its suppliers and financing company to lose more than $1.5 million.

The defendants have also agreed to pay restitution to their victims. Osborne Sr. has agreed to pay roughly $1.7 million, while Osborne II will pay $1.5 million. Both are scheduled to be sentenced on May 7, 2018. Additional details can be found here.

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