VALDOSTA, GA (STL.News) A Tifton resident has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud in a case involving U.S. Department of State contracts, said Peter D. Leary, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
Tony C. Mathis, 56, of Tifton, Georgia, was sentenced on Wednesday, December 16, by U.S. District Judge Hugh Lawson to 50 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to one count wire fraud. Judge Lawson also ordered Mathis to pay $18,371.12 in restitution to the victim, U.S. Personal Defense Products (USPDP). Of this amount, $16,944.12 is due jointly and severally with the co-defendant, Victoria Velez. Velez was referred for Pretrial Diversion. There is no parole in the federal system.
Mathis was engaged as a bid subcontractor by USPDP, a company that supplies law enforcement and personal defense products. USPDP was awarded a contract with the State Department to supply a large amount of exercise equipment to the Kabul, Afghanistan embassy. Mathis submitted an invoice to the Department of State in the amount of $16,944.12, using an email address that appeared to be from USPDP, but was a personal email address belonging to Mathis. Mathis included personal banking information and signed the requested EFT form, and the payment was sent to his personal account on April 5, 2018. It was later discovered that Mathis committed a similar scheme in September 2017, after he bid on and won another State Department contract in the name of USPDP for $1,337 for windshield covers in Tunisia. Mathis says he committed the fraud because he was owed money.
“Acts of fraud, whether against a small business or the U.S. Government, are taken seriously in the Middle District of Georgia, and those found breaking the law will face federal prosecution and prison,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Leary. “I want to commend Department of State Office of Inspector General for their work investigating this case.”