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Tifton man sentenced to 50 months federal prison in State Department wire fraud

Posted at 3:15 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 15:19:20-05

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — A Tifton resident has been sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud in a case involving U.S. State Department contracts.

According to U.S. Justice Department investigators, 56-year-old Tony C. Mathis of Tifton was engaged as a bid subcontractor by U.S. Personal Defense Products, a company that supplies law enforcement and personal defense products.

USPDP was awarded a contract with the State Department to supply a large amount of exercise equipment to the Kabul, Afghanistan embassy.

Afterward, Mathis submitted an invoice to the Department of State for $16,944.12, using an email address that appeared to be from USPDP, but was a personal email address belonging to Mathis.

Mathis included personal banking information and signed the requested EFT form, and the payment was sent to his personal account on April 5, 2018, according to investigators.

It was later discovered by investigators that Mathis committed a similar scheme in September 2017, after he bid on and won another State Department contract in the name of USPDP for $1,337 for windshield covers in Tunisia.

Mathis said he committed the fraud because he was owed money, and was sentenced on Dec. 16 to 50 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Mathis was also ordered to pay $18,371.12 in restitution to USPDP. Of this amount, $16,944.12 is due jointly and severally with the co-defendant, Victoria Velez.