Military contractor from Lackawanna Co. admits to $1.4 million fraud scheme

By Joe Dolinsky - [email protected] | August 17th, 2016 11:22 am - updated: 2:06 pm.

NEWARK, N.J. — A Lackawanna County man who managed large-scale projects at U.S. military facilities in New Jersey pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges he directed subcontracts to a company he secretly owned, causing losses of $1.4 million, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced.

James Conway, 45, of Moscow, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark to a criminal information charging him with one count of wire fraud and one count of accepting unlawful kickbacks.

According to federal prosecutors:

From September 2009 to August 2015, Conway secretly owned a company called Walsh Construction Services, which purported to provide construction services. Using his position as regional manager for a construction contractor, Conway steered subcontracts to Walsh Construction for jobs at Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County, New Jersey, and at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix Lakehurst in Burlington County, New Jersey.

Conway signed the subcontracts using an alias to conceal his ownership of the business.

He used Walsh Construction to obtain payments from the construction contractor by submitting invoices and bills on behalf of the business for work purportedly performed at the two military facilities. Many of the invoices and bills included charges for work that Walsh Construction only partially did, or for work that was not performed at all by Walsh Construction, causing losses of $1.4 million.

Conway also accepted kickbacks totaling $180,345 from four subcontractors on the expectation they would receive favorable treatment from Conway in return.

Conway’s plea agreement says he was ordered to make full restitution. To do so, he agreed to forfeit property on Maple Grove Road in Moscow and Spring Hill Road in Wayne County, as well as assets including a 2013 Jeep Rubicon, a 2011 Ford F-350, three motorcycles and two construction vehicles.

Prosecutors say the wire fraud charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The charge for accepting unlawful kickbacks carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. Both charges carry a maximum fine of $250,000.

Conway was released on a $250,000 bond pending his Nov. 30 sentencing date, according to prosecutors.

By Joe Dolinsky

[email protected]

Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL