Two local men — one from Groveland and one from Kingston, New Hampshire — and a Georgia man were sentenced Wednesday for conspiracy to defraud the United States and mail fraud in a scheme to obtain government contracts, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The scheme involved a company in Haverhill and another in Groveland, investigators said.
Frank Apicella, 63, of Groveland, James Apicella, 37, of Kingston, and Michael Sforza, 59, of Alpharetta, Georgia, were sentenced by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Douglas Woodlock to two years of probation and two years of supervised release, according to U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.
The three men were also ordered to each pay forfeiture of $300,000, Lelling said. In addition, Frank Apicella and Sforza were ordered to each pay a $300,000 fine, Lelling said.
The three men pleaded guilty in February 2020 to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of mail fraud.
Beginning in 2011, the three men used Tactical Office Solutions, a company run by James Apicella, as a front to bid on government contract work that was set aside for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) companies, Lelling said.
Although the contracts were bid on and awarded to Tactical Office Solutions through the veteran and small business programs, Tactical Office Solutions never performed the work, Lelling said.
Rather, the work was mostly performed by a company called FENS, which was owned and operated by Frank Apicella and Michael Sforza, and which was not eligible to compete for contracts through the government programs, Lelling said.
The website for FENS Associates LLC lists its location as 939 Salem St., Unit 3, Groveland, and says the company was formed in 1991.
"As a company that has been successful selling furniture, design, project management, installation, and other services to the federal government for twenty six years, we fully understand the government marketplace,” the company website says.
The website for Tactical Office Solutions lists an office at 80 Wingate St., Haverhill.
James Apicella’s LinkedIn page says he attended Pentucket Regional High School from 1995 to 1999 and holds a bachelor of science degree from Southern Vermont College.