A federal grand jury has indicted Micheline Pollock, the former head of Dover Vantage, a U.S. construction company, on charges of fraud on military contracts related to the building of military and humanitarian facilities in Africa.
A 98-count indictment was announced against Pollock on Thursday by Robert S. Brewer Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California. Of the 98 counts in the indictment, one is for conspiracy to defraud the U.S., 34 are for wire fraud, and the remaining 63 are for aggravated identity theft. The federal prosecutors allege that Pollock and other company officials engaged in these fraudulent activities from 2011 to 2018.
Dover Vantage had won contracts for the Army Corps of Engineers and Navy Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC). The contracts included a maternity ward and a school for the deaf in Togo.
According to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s office, the indictment alleges that Pollock and other officials at Dover Vantage filed certified quality-control work that was never carried out, submitted fraudulent concrete strength-test results, submitted résumés of fictitious employees, and filed fraudulent claims for construction that were either never done or didn’t meet specifications.
The statement read: “As a result of the fraudulent conduct, many of the structures constructed by Dover Vantage were so poorly constructed that they collapsed, including an aircraft hangar in Niger and a training facility in Senegal.”
“Most of the other structures constructed by Dover Vantage are now unusable.” Because of Dover Vantage’s shoddy work, the federal government said that the Corps of Engineers has had to reissue contracts, fix damaged facilities, and reduce operational capacity.
Pollock, 50, who lists her home of record as Dubai, U.A.E., was arrested in September in Tbilisi, Georgia by the Georgian authorities. Her arrest was based on a provisional arrest warrant issued at the U.S. government’s request.
Back in April, the Air Force Times had released a story that documented many issues with the construction of the U.S. airbase in Niger.
Although the majority of the work was completed by Air Force personnel, it is unclear at this point if the two issues are related. Nevertheless, a Pentagon Inspector General report has found that the construction of the Air Force’s Nigerien Air Base 201 may have violated federal law and security standards.
The airbase, which cost $100 million, is located in the Agadez region of Niger. It was designed for use by C-17 cargo aircraft and armed drones that previously operated out of Niger’s capital, Niamey. The completion of the airfield and base camp was delayed by almost three years and plagued by mismanagement, according to the DoD IG report.
“We acknowledge the immense work and efforts put forth by AFRICOM and the Air Force,” DoD IG officials wrote in the report. “However, the circumstances did not negate the Air Force’s responsibility to ensure that construction projects were programmed in accordance with appropriation laws and regulations; construction, operations, and security standards were adhered to; and the appropriate waivers were coordinated and approved.”