Tech firm may be banned from federal work

By

Published:

 

WASHINGTON — The Small Business Administration is moving to ban one of the government's most prominent small-business contractors from new federal work, saying that the firm provided false information about its ownership and operations, documents show.

The SBA said it has information showing that Tysons Corner, Va.-based MicroTechnologies LLC and its founder, Anthony Jimenez, submitted "false and misleading statements" in order to receive preferential treatment, according to a Dec. 20 letter from the agency to the company. The company and Jimenez are effectively suspended from receiving new government work.

The agency said the false statements included one that "appears to be a complete fabrication" to hide the extensive role of two investors who apparently worked with Jimenez to launch, bankroll and operate MicroTech, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Washington Post.

The SBA notice is the first step in a civil process that could lead to the banning of both Jimenez and MicroTech "from future contracting with any agencies of the Executive Branch of the United States Government," the SBA said.

MicroTech did not reply to requests for comment.

The company has 30 days to respond to the claims in the SBA's regulatory action, which immediately makes the company and Jimenez ineligible for contracting work or any government assistance, such as loans, and proposes the "debarment" of the firm from future federal contracts.

The SBA's enforcement action follows Post stories that examined how MicroTech was able to receive more than $1 billion in federal contracts over nine years and still claim to meet SBA requirements for small and disadvantaged businesses.

The Post stories showed that Jimenez has made claims that appeared to be inconsistent with internal company documents, government records, and interviews with current and former employees.

The stories also detailed how the Department of Veterans Affairs took credit for awarding hundreds of millions in work to MicroTech when more than 90 percent of the money went to large companies.

The Post's reporting has spurred other oversight activity. Inspectors general offices at the SBA and the General Services Administrations have initiated investigations. The Small Business Committee in the House and the House Veterans Affairs Committee have begun examining the VA contracts with MicroTech.

MicroTech has been acclaimed as one of the fastest-growing small federal contractors in recent memory. The firm has received $1.4 billion in federal technology work since it was formed in 2004, a third of it through contracts reserved for small firms owned by service-disabled veterans and disadvantaged entrepreneurs, records show.

In 2005, when applying for entrance into the SBA's 8(a) program for small disadvantaged firms, Jimenez said there was "no link, relationship, or partnership of any kind" between MicroTech and MicroLink, a company owned by his two non-disadvantaged investors.

In the Dec. 20 letter, the SBA said: "This statement appears to be a complete fabrication."

False statements for the purposes of getting access to federal set-aside contracts carry civil and criminal penalties.