Saturday, July 20, 2024

Shreveport Businessman and Military Veteran Sentenced on Federal Charges

by BIZ Magazine
gavel lying on desk

SHREVEPORT, La. – June 24, 2024 – Edward L. Angel, Sr., a 71-year-old businessman and military veteran from Shreveport, has been sentenced for theft of government funds and making false statements to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). United States District Judge David C. Joseph sentenced Angel to three years of supervised probation, with the first six months to be served as home confinement. Angel was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $141,972.89 and a fine of $850,000.

In February, a federal jury found Angel guilty of three counts of making false statements to the FAA following a week-long trial. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on additional counts related to theft of government funds, leading to a mistrial. Subsequently, Angel entered into a plea agreement, pleading guilty to one count of theft of government funds.

Angel, who owns two businesses, ELA Group, Inc. (ELA) and Paradigm Engineers and Constructors PLLC (Paradigm), had been involved in the Veterans Affairs (VA) service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) program. This program assists small businesses owned by disabled veterans in obtaining federal contracts. To qualify, veterans must meet specific criteria regarding eligibility, ownership, and control of the business.

Between 2011 and 2012, Angel submitted forms to the SDVOSB program, claiming he was the President of ELA, responsible for all day-to-day operations, and worked over 40 hours per week. He stated that his compensation was deferred to year-end distributions under IRS Subchapter S regulations, leaving funds in the corporation for working capital. In 2016, after purchasing Paradigm, Angel submitted documentation to qualify Paradigm for the SDVOSB program, certifying that he was the 100% owner and worked an average of 50 hours per week across his businesses. Based on these representations, both ELA and Paradigm received millions of dollars in set-aside contracts.

From November 2013, Angel received Individual Unemployability (IU) benefits from the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), asserting that he was unable to work and had been unemployed since 2008. He admitted to receiving $93,819.29 in IU payments to which he was not entitled. Additionally, Angel applied for Social Security Administration (SSA) Disability Insurance Benefits in 2011, claiming he had been unable to work since 2010 due to a medical condition. The SSA approved his application, and Angel received $48,153.60 in disability payments without disclosing his active business ownership and employment.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, Department of Veteran Affairs Office of Inspector General, and Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General. The case was prosecuted by Executive Assistant United States Attorney Earl M. Campbell and former Assistant United States Attorney Tennille M. Gilreath.

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