Washington, D.C./ Crime & Emergencies
AI Assisted Icon
Published on May 22, 2024
Former USDA Official and Nephew Charged in $400K Government Fraud SchemeSource: Unsplash/ Bermix Studio

A former high-ranking official at the Department of Agriculture and his nephew were cuffed and charged with running a fraud scheme that siphoned nearly $400,000 from the government, officials said.

Kirk Perry, former Program Director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, and his nephew Jamarea Grant, were arrested early Wednesday on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy, according to U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, and Inspector General Phyllis K. Fong. The duo is alleged to quickly have set up a lucrative kickback scheme lasting from August 2015 through November 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice reported.

Documents filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., claim Perry used his position to ensure Grant was hired by two companies contracted with the USDA. Grant, who supposedly reported directly to his uncle, is accused of billing Uncle Sam for work he never actually did. In this family affair turned felonious, it is alleged that Perry received kickbacks totaling around $125,000 from the nearly $400,000 Grant accrued. The pair made their initial court appearance in the Northern District of Ohio.

If convicted, Perry and Grant face up to 20 years behind bars for each of their charges, which include Money, Property, and Honest Services Wire Fraud, and Conspiracy to Commit Money, Property, and Honest Services Wire Fraud. While these maximum sentences are set by Congress, the actual time they could serve will be determined by the court, with factors such as the advisory Sentencing Guidelines playing a key role in the decision, officials said.

The case is the result of an investigation spearheaded by the Sensitive Investigations Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian P. Kelly and Joshua Rothstein spearheading the prosecution. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio was also involved in providing assistance during the investigation.