4 men charged in scheme to defraud small business program


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Federal authorities say four men have been indicted in a fraud case involving a program at Kirtland Air Force Base that was meant to help minority-owned small businesses.

The U.S Attorney’s Office for the district of New Mexico announced the 46-count indictment Wednesday. It names 72-year-old Milton Boutte of Moriarty, New Mexico; 55-year-old George Lowe of Fort Washington, Maryland; and 58-year-old Jose Diaz and 54-year-old Arturo Vargas, both of El Paso, Texas.

Arraignments have yet to be scheduled. It was not immediately clear if the men had attorneys.

Authorities have accused the men of running their scheme from October 2004 through February 2009.

The indictment alleges that the defendants submitted fraudulent invoices to federal agencies and that funds were used to pay lobbyists and consultants.

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