A former contracting official with the Ga. Department of Defense has been indicted for allegedly awarding contracts for work that was never done in exchange for illegal kickbacks.
The 10-count indictment charges Raytosha Elliott, 33, and Lakeysha Ellis, 36, both of Atlanta, with two counts of conspiracy and seven counts of wire fraud. Elliott is also charged with accepting a bribe or kickback as a public official.
The indictment alleges Ellis and Elliott had a similar fraud scheme they ran from January 2009 through May 2011, when Ellis was an accountant at Baumueller-Nuermont Corp., an industrial equipment company with offices in Norcross. Her job responsibilities included payroll and paying vendors.
While employed as Baumueller-Nuermont’s accountant, Ellis fraudulently funneled money to the defendants’ two sham companies. Ellis wrote corporate checks to one of those companies, signed her name on the checks, and forged the signature of the vice president on the checks, to ensure that the checks could be negotiated.
As part of the scheme, Ellis also falsified employee records in the corporation’s payroll system to disguise payments to the defendants’ two companies. She caused the payroll system to make fraudulent salary payments to the two companies for new, non-existent employees.
Baumueller-Nuermont lost about $85,000 from this scheme.
According to U.S. Attonrey Sally Quillian Yates and court information, Elliott worked with engineering firms on bids and oversaw no-bid purchase order. for the Ga. Department of Defense from May 2007 through April 2012. Projects that cost less than $5,000 did not have to go through a competitive bidding process, allowing Elliott to award the contracts, certify the work was completed and make sure the vendors were paid even though the work was never completed.
Elliott allegedly awarded many of these contracts to companies run by her friends and associates, including Ellis. In return, the friends and associates allegedly paid Elliott kickbacks of 50 percent of the contracts. The work was never done.
Elliott awarded Total Source Solution, owned by Ellis, 17 contracts with a total value of approximately $75,000. Instead of completing the electrical work, landscaping and HVAC work, the defendants split the money awarded under these contracts and spent it on personal items, including travel, meals, merchandise, and even liposuction treatment for Ellis.