5 Indicted For Fraud Against The US Government In “Made In America” Marketing Scheme

Five people were indicted Tuesday for wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, major fraud against the United States and smuggling goods into the United States following an investigation. Vincent Lee Ferguson, 65, of Knoxville; Matthew Lee Ferguson, 40, of Lenoir City; Kerry Joseph Ferguson, 35, of Houston, Texas; Matthew Harrison Martland, 32, of Knoxville; and Stephanie Lynn Kaemmerer, 44, of Knoxville; pleaded not guilty.

According to court records, the defendants were executives and management at Wellco Enterprises, Inc., and conspired to defraud the United States government and other purchasers through a scheme to fraudulently import military-style boots that were made in China into the United States and then deceptively market and sell those boots to the United States Armed Forces, government contractors, and the general public as “Made in the USA,” and as compliant with certain domestic content preference laws, including the Trade Agreements Act and the Berry Amendment.

If convicted, each defendant faces a term of 20 years in prison as to each wire fraud charge and up to 10 years in prison for the charge of major fraud against the United States. Additionally, they face fines of up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release for each count. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of approximately $8.1 million.

The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Air Force Office of Special Investigation, General Services Administration Office of Inspector General and the Defense Contracts Audit Agency.

4 Comments

  1. I didn’t read that the boots are defective, so I’m guessing the issue is solely about imported boots sold as domestically produced boots?
    Well ever since fat cat Republicans out sourced American manufacturing jobs over seas, and tree hugging Democrats used the EPA to close factories we as a nation only produce babies, and even that is under assault from unchecked immigration and midnight landings of “refugees” from the third world.
    Funny thing is most people could care less about this issue, because once upon a time, the “made in America” label meant something, it implied top quality, workmanship and value. Sadly today these same words are worthless and meaningless when it comes to value and quality.
    Made in the USA? What’s it mean to you?

    TOoT

  2. Talk about lack of moral compass. Disgusting.

    I hope these guys get the max penalty for defrauding tax payers.
    Another example of our finest volunteers- Armed Services getting far less than they
    deserve.

    Are military personnel walking around in these boots today? Or did the bad guys get caught before the boots got shipped?

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