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Retired Army colonel sentenced in Fort Gordon bid-rigging scheme

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By SANDY HODSON | The Augusta Chronicle | Published: August 31, 2019

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Tribune News Service) — A fourth retired Army colonel involved in a $20 million bribery and bid-rigging scheme in government contracts at Fort Gordon was sentenced to five years in prison Friday.

Anthony Williams, 59, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in March for his role in the scheme that was in effect from 2008 to 2014 as the building and modernization of communications networks at Fort Gordon took place. Williams took $1.2 million in bribes while on active duty in Washington, D.C., and while in charge of the billion-dollar battle command budget.

Williams conspired with retired Col. Calvin Lawyer who left his position overseeing the fort's building and modernization of networks to start his own business to obtain government contracts. Col. Anthony Roper took Lawyer's former position and steered government contracts valued at $20 million to Lawyer's company and a second company, a subcontractor owned by Williams' good friend, identified only as "J.D.Y." in court documents.

It was at J.D.Y.'s company that a no-show job was set up for Williams' wife who was paid $963,000. The subcontractor was paid $13 million, a sum not included in the formal conspiracy, Senior Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. noted Friday.

Bowen said he found it odd that all the investigators, auditors and attorneys involved in uncovering the "Colonels Cabal" claim there was no financial loss for the government because the contracts were fulfilled. He questioned how the government could have received the fairest price when more than $1 million in bribes were paid.

Since pleading guilty, Williams has filed corrected income tax forms to include the bribe money and that paid to his wife for the no-show job. Because of the $1.2 million judgment and substantial tax penalty Williams will have to pay, Bowen imposed no fine.

Once he completes the prison sentence, Williams will have an additional three years on supervised release. The five years was the maximum sentence Bowen could impose.

Lawyer and Roper and a third retired military man, Dwayne O. Fulton, have been sentenced to five-year prison terms. Roper's wife, Audra Roper, was given probation for her role in the scheme but a year was revoked earlier this summer for her failure to file tax returns. The Ropers were fined $210,000, Lawyer agreed to pay a $5 million penalty and was fined $100,000. Fulton was fined $50,000.

The cases were investigated by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Small Business Administration's Office of Inspector General, and the United States Attorney's Office.

"Williams' sentence wraps up an investigation that shed light on a cynical and disheartening scheme to steal taxpayer funds intended for our nation's military," said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine in a media statement. "These men disgraced their oaths to serve their country, and accordingly are being held accountable for their despicable thefts."

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©2019 The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.)
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