Memphis Goodwill Raid
Published: September 5, 2015
Memphis Goodwill Raid, Federal agents from Washington raided Memphis Goodwill this week as part of a growing national fraud investigation into AbilityOne, the top taxpayer-funded program that provides work to disabled workers, according to inside sources.
More than two dozen agents from numerous federal agencies drove onto the Memphis Goodwill headquarters on Wednesday, sealing the back of the property containing the corporate headquarters, which administers millions of dollars in Federal contracts throughout the Memphis metropolitan area.
The fraud investigation into the government program was first detailed in an exclusive CNN story several weeks ago. AbilityOne and its management operation, SourceAmerica, are now under investigation by at least four separate Offices of Inspectors General, and also by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to inside sources.
AbilityOne and SourceAmerica, and many of the contracts they administer, are being investigated over allegations of financial fraud, operating illegal contracts, not employing the legally required number of disabled workers, bid-rigging, contract “steering,” and possible racketeering, according to sources. The program is one of the nation’s largest taxpayer contracts programs, awarding some $2.3 billion annually to contractors across the country.
Companies awarded the taxpayer-funded AbilityOne contracts are required by law to have 75% of their work performed by blind or severely disabled employees. But as many as half the contracts across the country may be operating illegally and not hiring enough disabled workers, inside sources tell CNN.
One former top officer has stated repeatedly in recorded conversations that the entire program is run like organized crime.
“That’s the way they play the game. We are dealing with the Mafia here, the old SourceAmerica Mafia,” said Jean Robinson, the former top attorney for SourceAmerica.
She described the contract-awarding process as a “sham” driven by insider influence and cronyism. Robinson was later fired and sued by SourceAmerica and has not replied to CNN for comment.
AbilityOne and SourceAmerica have denied wrongdoing in their operation and have issued numerous statements in recent weeks assuring their contractors and allies that there is no problem in the program. Officials in AbilityOne and SourceAmerica at first said they had no knowledge that any investigation was under way by the Justice Department. In recent weeks, the officials with SourceAmerica have confirmed the investigation is, in fact, ongoing.
In the Memphis raid, the agents descended on the corporate offices just after 9 a.m., arriving in about 10 federal unmarked vehicles and escorted by the same number of Memphis police cruisers.
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