WILMINGTON, Del. David C. Weiss, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that William A. Brown (“Brown”) was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leonard P. Stark to 12 months’ incarceration for wire fraud on January 29, 2020.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Brown, age 52, of Felton, Delaware, was previously a job placement counselor at Connections Community Support Programs, Inc. (“Connections”). During 2015 and 2016, Connections contracted with the Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (“DVR”) to help that organization provide employment counseling and job placement services to individuals recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. The federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act provides funding for DVR and sets programmatic goals; DVR receives 80% of its funding through federal government programs.
As part of a multi-year fraud on DVR, Brown submitted falsified client paperwork and created bogus client paystubs so that DVR would pay Connections for completed client services. By submitting more than thirty false documents over a two-year period, Brown not only caused the payment of excess funds to Connections, he made Connections’ services appear more successful than they actually were and so improved his own job security.
In sentencing the defendant, Chief Judge Stark expressed that the defendant’s “actions contribute to undermining public support in these types of programs.”
U.S. Attorney Weiss stated, “The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation performs an important service for Delaware citizens, and its mission is undermined when a self-interested contractor like the defendant commits fraud. By falsifying client paperwork in a way that boosted his own performance numbers and triggered payments by DVR to Connections, the defendant put his own job security above the job prospects of the clients that Connections was contracted to assist. The defendant’s sentence of incarceration sends an important message that fraud on government programs will not be tolerated by the criminal justice system.”
“This defendant perpetrated a fraud against the government, against his employer, and against a public program that supports Delaware citizens, for his own personal gain. When programs funded by the government are victimized by fraud, the FBI will work relentlessly with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to root out the individuals responsible. Such fraud victimizes not only public programs but also the taxpayers who fund these programs,” said Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the FBI’s Baltimore Division.
“William Brown defrauded the Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation by submitting false documentation for employment counseling and job placement services intended for clients in drug and alcohol recovery. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect the integrity of federally-funded job placement programs,” said Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Derek Pickle, Philadelphia Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.
“This case is an example of our commitment to protecting Federal funds from fraud, waste, and abuse, and stop those who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers,” said Geoffrey Wood, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General’s Eastern Regional Office. “The Office of Inspector General and our partners will continue to work tirelessly to safeguard Federal education dollars.”
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI Baltimore Division’s Wilmington Office, U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, with help from the Delaware Department of Justice. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Whitney Cloud.