YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Teaneck businesswoman this morning admitted securing $1.2 million in government contracts by falsely claiming that her company was owned by service-disabled military veterans.
Miriam Friedman, 54, obtained dozens of contracts for her New Jersey-based furniture and design services company, Office Dimensions Inc., U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.
Today she pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark to making false claims to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Friedman surrendered to federal agents with her lawyer, Brian Neary, in early January after being charged with a federal wire fraud complaint.
As president and owner, she controlled Office Dimensions while running its daily operations, Fishman said.
She didn’t serve in the military, although her father-in-law is a retired U.S. military veteran, the U.S. attorney said.
In November 2009, Friedman certified in a central registry for government contractors that Office Dimensions was a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, the complaint on file in U.S. District Court in Newark says.
In her certification, it alleges, she falsely claimed that her father-in-law was the owner and operator, even though he “had very little involvement with Office Dimensions and was not service-disabled.”
Friedman then bid for VA contracts set aside for service-disabled veterans who own their businesses, the complaint says, adding that the VA then paid out the contracts in January 2010 through November 2011.
Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. General Services Administration Office of the Inspector General and IRS – Criminal Investigation.
Representing the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott B. McBride, the deputy chief of Fishman’s Economic Crimes Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle A. Walsman of the office’s Health Care and Government Fraud Unit.
U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas set sentencing for Sept. 3.