SAN ANTONIO – A Converse man and six alleged co-conspirators are accused of defrauding a Small Business Administration program.
Aaron Sams, 39 of Converse; Beverly Smith, 40, of Converse; Jesus Rodriguez, 63, of San Antonio; Uchennaya Ogba, 35, of San Antonio; Kristin Harrison, 37, of Killeen; Jonathan Adams, 36, of Lawrenceville, Georgia; and Barbara Sanders, 41, of San Antonio, were all arrested this week and charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.
Sams is the owner of Sams Contracting Consulting and Training LLC. The indictment alleges that he used his business to market a service to historically underutilized business zone (HUBZone) companies.
The indictment alleges that Sams and Rodriguez had close friends and family serve as fake employees. Those fake employees — the codefendants in this case — were placed on a HUBZone company’s payroll and would pay a kickback to Sams and/or Rodriguez of about 20% of each payroll deposit they received.
The indictment alleges that Sams provided the fake employees with personal identifying information like a driver’s license and social security card and set up email addresses for them that Sams had control over.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.