EAST ST. LOUIS — Kwa Mister, 38, of Fairview Heights, was charged by indictment with two counts of making a false statement to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, and the U. S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton said in a press release Monday.
“There is no right to lie to federal agents conducting an investigation,” Wigginton said.
If convicted, Mister faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to three years supervised release.
According to the indictment, the Illinois Department of Transportation entered into an intergovernmental agreement with Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to be the fiscal agent for the Highway Construction Preparatory Training Program. The indictment charges that Mister was the director/project manager at the Small Business Development Center at SIUE and served as the project manager for the Highway Construction Preparatory Training Program. The indictment alleges that an investigation and an audit revealed Mister obtained five contracts between SIUE and Phoenix Support Services for Phoenix Support Services to purportedly serve as an independent consultant to assist with the training program. The indictment further alleges that from March 2010 through January 2011, an audit discovered five purchase orders, five contracts and at least four justification for sole source purchase or contract forms concerning the procurement of services from “L. A. S.” (name removed), Director, d/b/a Phoenix Support Services. The indictment further alleges that the procurement of these contracts with Phoenix Support Services was initiated by Mister, the program manager for the Highway Construction Preparatory Training Program. Mister procured the services of his mother, L. A. S., for sole source contracts and concealed the family relationship and the potential conflict of interest from SIUE. The indictment alleges that when the propriety of the contracts with Phoenix Support Services was under investigation by SIUE, Mister lied to SIUE as to whether the owner of Phoenix Support Services was his mother. Mister is charged with lying to federal agents concerning whether he provided false information to SIUE.
The indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, the U. S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of Southern Illinois University and the Office of Executive Inspector General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman R. Smith.