WASHINGTON — A Tennessee contractor faces a $5 million fine for trying to steal $580,000 from both the government and a small business.

Milton Cleve Collins has entered a plea deal following an indictment on one count of major fraud against the United States. Collins had supposedly attempted to defraud the U.S. government, specifically the General Services Administration, on a $1.5 million construction contract.

The contract involved the replacement of an air-conditioning and roof system at the Ed Jones Federal Courthouse and Post Office in Jackson, Tennessee. Subcontracted work was done by a small Memphis business that was never fully paid by Collins. Furthermore, Collins filed false U.S. government certifications that claimed that the subcontractor was indeed paid, with the pilfered funds ultimately valuing in at $580,000.

Special Agent Michael T. Gavin of the FBI’s Memphis division stated “fraud has a negative and long-lasting impact on the community, and the honest and law-abiding citizens who are fed up with the likes of those who, motivated merely by greed, violate the law, should be assured by this conviction that the FBI is committed to work closely with its law enforcement partners to vigorously pursue anyone who commits such crimes.”

Collins’ sentencing hearing is to be held on March 1, 2018, potentially facing a maximum penalty of 10 years, in addition to the aforementioned $5 million fine.

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