VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Former Virginia State Delegate Ron Villanueva, who for years was trusted by voters to be a good steward of tax money, is now facing federal charges for taking money he wasn’t supposed to.
Villanueva, 48, from Virginia Beach was arrested Thursday and charged with four counts including Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, Falsification of Records and Aiding and Abetting False Written Statements.
Specifically, a 22-page indictment accuses Villanueva of defrauding the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Prosecutors found that Villanueva had extensive experience pursuing government contracts that were set aside by the SBA to help small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the U.S. economy through business development. Officially known as the “8(a)” program, a company can only qualify it is controlled and owned by “socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.”
Villanueva agreed to help a company called SEK Solutions, LLC when its offices were moved from Chantilly to Virginia Beach in 2005, according to court documents. At the time it qualified for the 8a.
The indictment alleges there were “numerous false representations and statements” made to the SBA when this move happened — including the company’s eligibility to participate in the SBA’s program and its relationship with one of its suppliers.
Villanueva is also accused of helping create a new entity called Karda Systems, LLC that he and others associated with SEK would secretly control.
The indictment alleges Villanueva and the group of conspirators financially benefited from $80 million in contracts that were fraudulently awarded to SEK and Karda. Between 2007 and 2014, Villanueva and an immediate family received just over $1 million from SEK and Karda, according to court documents.
“I’ve devoted my life to public service, everyone knows me. I’m a man of integrity and honor,” Villanueva said after leaving court Thursday afternoon. “Continue to pray for me and my family and I will make sure we address all of your questions in the future.”
Villanueva served as a Republican Delegate for Virginia’s 21st District from 2010-2018. Prior to that he was a Virginia Beach City Councilor.
A judge granted Villanueva $10,000 bond. He is due back in court on January 17 for arraignment.