A federal grand jury has indicted the former head of a U.S. construction company on charges of fraud on Army and Navy contracts to build military and humanitarian facilities in Africa, including a maternity ward and school for the deaf, the U.S. Dept. of Justice says.
The 98-count indictment was filed on Oct. 9 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The indictment was announced on Oct. 13 by Robert S. Brewer Jr., U.S. Attorney for the district.
Federal prosecutors allege that Micheline Pollock, who was CEO of contractor Dover Vantage Inc.—and other company officials—engaged in fraudulent activities related to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) projects for which it was awarded contracts from 2011 to 2018.
According to the indictment, Dover Vantage was incorporated in the U.S. but had its primary office in Dubai. It had about 23 Corps contracts and one from NAVFAC, for a boat ramp in Liberia.
In a statement from Brewer's office, the indictment alleges that Dover Vantage executives, among other things, filed certified quality-control work that was never carried out, submitted fraudulent concrete strength test results and filed fraudulent claims for construction that was never done or did not meet specifications.
“As a result of the fraudulent conduct, many of the structures constructed by Dover Vantage were so poorly constructed that they collapsed.” said the statement, including an aircraft hangar in Niger and a training facility in Senegal.
It added, “Most of the other structures constructed by Dover Vantage are now unusable.” Federal officials also said the Corps has had to reissue contracts and fix damaged facilities.
Pollock was arrested on Sept. 22 in Tbilisi, Georgia, by authorities there, based on a provisional arrest warrant issued at U.S. request, according to Brewer's office.
It added that Pollock is in custody in Georgia, awaiting extradition. The statement lists her address as being in Dubai, U.A.E.
Of the indictment’s 98 counts, one is for conspiracy to defraud the U.S., 34 are for wire fraud and 63 are for aggravated identity theft.
Prosecutors noted that the charges are only accusations and that the defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty.
Story updated on 10/15/2020 with information from the indictment.