BOSTON — Three men, one of whom lives in Groveland, are accused by federal authorities of fraudulently attempting to obtain government contracts for their businesses.

Frank Apicella, 63, of Groveland; Michael Sforza, 59, of Alpharetta, Georgia; and James Apicella, 37, of Kingston, New Hampshire, were each charged in U.S. District Court on Friday with conspiracy to defraud the United States and mail fraud.

Beginning in 2011, the defendants used Tactical Office Solutions, a company run by James Apicella, to bid for and obtain government contract work that was set aside for small businesses owned by veterans disabled as a result of their military service and companies located in historically underutilized business zones.

Although the work was bid by and awarded to Tactical Office Solutions based on these set-aside programs, most of the work was performed by FENS, a company owned and operated by Frank Apicella and Michael Sforza. FENS was not eligible for these contracts, according to court documents. 

The charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, one year of supervised release, a fine of as much as $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.

Mail fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of as much as $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater, and forfeiture. 

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, Jeffrey Stachowiak, acting special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division, Northeast Field Office; Luis Hernandez, special agent in charge of the General Services Administration Office of Inspector General, New England Regional Office; and Michael Conner, resident agent in charge of the U.S. Army Major Procurement Fraud Unit, Criminal Investigation Command, made the announcement Friday.

The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration provided assistance with the investigation, according to Lelling.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara Miron Bloom and Annapurna Balakrishna are prosecuting the case. Bloom is assigned to the Securities and Financial Fraud Unit while Balakrishna works in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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