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Ganos faces two new charges in Sonag scheme

A Milwaukee contractor faces two new charges in an indictment accusing officials at the company of exploiting a program set up to help businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans.

Brian Ganos, owner of Sonag Construction, will appear in court for an arraignment and plea hearing on Wednesday in response to a revised indictment filed on May 1. The indictment lists two new charges of wire fraud against Ganos and Nuvo Construction, a firm he is accused of covertly controlling. The suspects in the alleged scheme face decades in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

A 22-count indictment in early April accused Ganos, Sonag and Mark Spindler, an accountant out of Menomonee Falls, of bilking the government out of $200 million dollars by setting up companies under fraudulent owners to exploit programs that give a bidding edge to companies owned by women, minorities and veterans. An attorney for Ganos did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Thursday.

Ganos and Spindler are each free on a signature bond after a pair of arraignment and plea hearings were held in mid-April on an initial 22-count indictment. Although Spindler pleaded not guilty to the charges on April 19, Ganos refused to enter a plea during his hearing on April 17, prompting the judge overseeing the proceedings to enter a plea of not guilty for him, according to court papers.

The government’s indictment accuses Ganos of setting up a series of companies under figurehead owners to qualify for programs used to help women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses. Although these owners were made to look on paper as if they were in control of companies like Nuvo Construction and C3T on paper, they actually had little to do with the businesses, which were instead controlled by Ganos.

Four other men have agreed to plead guilty to charges arising from the same alleged scheme.

In April, James E. Hubbell, 50, of Sussex and Jorge Lopez, 57, of Worthington, Minnesota, agreed to plead guilty to fraud charges for their roles as the false owners of companies set up by Ganos. Telemachos Agoudemos, 43, of Big Bend, also agreed to plead guilty to a charge of lying to federal investigators.

Earlier, Nicholas Rivecca Sr., 68, of Hartland, agreed to plead guilty to charges of conspiring to defraud the US government for his role as the false executive of a Ganos-controlled company.

About Nate Beck, nbeck@dailyreporter.com

Nate Beck is The Daily Reporter's construction staff writer. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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