Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:56 am
Three more individuals have reached plea deals in the fraud case involving Milwaukee construction firm Sonag Co. and its owner, Brian Ganos.
Ganos faces 22 charges in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin, including mail and wire fraud, money laundering and bank embezzlement. He allegedly used a network of companies with straw owners to obtain more than $200 million in federal contracts intended for businesses owned by minorities and service-disabled veterans. Proceeds from those contracts allegedly made their way back to Sonag, a company owned by Ganos.
The company was also initially charged in the case, along with Mark Spindler, the co-owner of Menomonee Falls-based accounting Komisar and Spindler s.c., and Nicholas Rivecca Sr., the co-owner of Sonag Ready Mix LLC.
Rivecca reached a plea agreement for his role in the scheme. Prosecutors filed charges against three more individuals this week, all of whom reached plea deals.
Telemachos Agoudemos, of Big Bend, was one of the straw owners in Ganos’ alleged scheme. According to Aoudemos’ plea agreement, he is a service-disabled veteran who claimed to be the majority owner of C3T Inc. from 2006 to 2012 and then claimed to be the sole-owner starting in late 2012.
Ganos and another man, James Hubbell, allegedly arranged for Agoudemos to become owner of the firm, but when he tried to participate in operations they told him he could stay home and draw a salary, according to the plea deal. His ownership and veteran status, however, allowed the business to qualify for certain government contracts.
C3T operated from the same building as Sonag on Florist Avenue and prosecutors say it did not function independently of other Ganos-controlled businesses.
Agoudemos agreed to plead guilty to one count of making false statements, which carries a maximum of five years in prison.
Hubbell, of Sussex, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which also carries a five year maximum in prison.
According to his plea deal, he worked for Ganos and his affiliated companies and supervised their construction operations. In addition to C3T, those companies included Nuvo Construction Co. and Pagasa.
Nuvo was purportedly 85 percent owned by Jorge Lopez, an Hispanic-American and resident of Minnesota. Lopez has also agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States.
According to his plea agreement, he began working full-time on construction projects for the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership in 2004. But he and Ganos also submitted documents to the Small Business Administration and Milwaukee County to qualify Nuvo for programs aimed at minority-owned businesses.
The designation allowed Nuvo to get millions of dollars in contracts, but the agreement says the company’s concrete operations were actually heavily dependent on Sonag Ready Mix, which was controlled by Ganos and Rivecca.