The indictment of City Council members Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown allege that fake invoices prepared by Katrina Brown included one for purchase of furniture from an unidentified business. Retired firefighter who runs VC Gantt, LLC declines comment.
An unnamed company identified only as “Entity A” in the federal fraud case involving two City Council members appears to be a local business run by a retired Jacksonville fire department lieutenant, based on details in the indictment and bank records, according to our Florida Times-Union news partner.
Vanderen C. Gantt, who is CEO of VC Gantt LLC, declined comment Monday when asked if the indictment refers to him.
The federal indictment unsealed last Thursday brings changes of fraud and money laundering against City Council members Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown. The indictment does not carry charges for any other individuals.
A portion of the 60-page indictment alleges that Katrina Brown created a fraudulent invoice for $6,083 in furniture purchases from “Person C’s business,” which the indictment calls “Entity A.”
The indictment says that after a bank released funds from a U.S. Small Business Administration loan based on the invoice, Person C later withdrew $5,583 in cash from the business’s account and provided it to Brown.
The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on any aspect of the indictment beyond what is in it.
Curtis Fallgatter, a defense attorney representing Katrina Brown, said the Justice Department has a long-standing law that if someone is a witness or wasn’t indicted, that person’s name is not disclosed in an indictment. He said based on that, he declined to comment on the identity of unnamed people in the indictment.
The case against Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown, who are not related, alleges they conspired to start two businesses so Katrina Brown could file fraudulent invoices totaling almost $265,000 for business expenses for a Jerome Brown BBQ Sauce plant that received a $2.65 million loan backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration along with $590,000 in city grants and loans.