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Designer Held in $1.2M Veteran Fraud

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

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The owner of a New Jersey-based interior design company is facing two decades in prison in an alleged scheme that siphoned more than $1.2 million from a federal program designed to help disabled veterans, prosecutors say.

Miriam Friedman, 54, the owner of Office Dimensions Inc., was arrested and charged with wire fraud Wednesday (Jan. 8), according to a release by U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

The Teaneck, NJ, resident is accused of fraudulently representing her company as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business in order to obtain more than $1.2 million worth of government contracts set aside for disabled veterans.

Department of Veterans Affairs
afagen / Flickr / Nc-sa v2.0 license

Between January 2010 and November 2011, the Department of Veterans Affairs paid Office Dimensions more than $1.2 million on fraudulently obtained contracts.

If found guilty, Friedman could serve a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and be ordered to pay a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross loss or gain caused by the offense, prosecutors say.

Fraud Scam

According to prosecutors and the federal complaint, Office Dimensions sells design services and furniture to private and government customers.

Friedman and her husband, Bruce Friedman, control the business, its revenues and run the company’s daily operations. Neither served in the U.S. military, but Friedman’s father-in-law is a retired U.S. military veteran.

On Nov. 23, 2009, Friedman certified in a central registry for government contractors that Office Dimensions was a service-disabled veteran-owned small business.

In her certification, she claimed that her father-in-law was the owner and operator, even though he had little involvement with the company and was not service-disabled.

Office Dimensions
www.officedimensions.net

Office Dimensions provides a range of product and design services, according to its website.

Friedman then bid for U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ contracts set aside for service-disabled veterans who own their businesses.

Between January 2010 and November 2011, the VA paid Office Dimensions more than $1.2 million on fraudulently obtained contracts to which Friedman was not entitled, prosecutors allege. Details about the contracts were not immediately available.

The Veterans' Program

The service-disabled veteran-owned small business procurement program was designed to offer opportunities to small businesses and to honor the service of veterans with service-related disabilities.

To be eligible for a contract through the program, a business must qualify as a small business; a service-disabled veteran (a veteran whose disability resulted from his or her service in the armed forces) must own more than 50 percent of the business; and the veteran must manage and control daily operations of the business.

At the same time that Friedman claimed Office Dimensions was service-disabled veteran-owned, she also claimed the business as a “woman-owned business in New York State to obtain contracts set aside for such businesses,” prosecutors allege.

About the Company

According to its website, Office Dimensions is a “one-stop source” with more than 50 years of combined experience specializing in healthcare, commercial, and residential space planning and design.

The company provides a range of products, expertise in space planning, and design services for flooring, painting, faux finishing and other interior elements, the website says.

Office Dimensions did not respond Monday (Jan. 13) to a request for comment.

   

Tagged categories: Bidding; Business matters; Business operations; Contract awards; Criminal acts; Government; Government contracts; Interior design

Comment from john lienert, (1/14/2014, 8:07 AM)

how tough is it for the idiots that run VETERANS' affairs to check to make sure their contractors are really veterans


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