Couple indicted in alleged $9.6 million fraud

By MIKE ROBINSON AP Legal Affairs Writer 5:51 p.m. CST, February 4, 2010

CHICAGO – The owner of a contracting company certified as a woman- and minority-owned business was indicted Thursday along with her husband and the firm on charges of collecting $9.6 million through fraudulent contracts.

The indictment charged that Aurora Venegas, 62, her Azteca Supply Co. and husband Thomas Masen, 57, were not the main suppliers of goods and services as required for contracts at O'Hare International Airport and elsewhere.

Instead, according to the six-count indictment, they operated the company as a broker or pass-through for supplies and services from other companies, in violation of their contracts. The indictment also alleged that Masen played a larger role in managing the company than would be appropriate for a woman-owned-and-operated business.

U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald issued a statement praising Chicago’s inspector general’s office for helping the FBI with the investigation.

Couple indicted in alleged $9.6 million fraud –