Officials say ex-lawmaker defrauded minority contractor program

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- Federal authorities have accused a former state lawmaker in Virginia of defrauding a program that awards lucrative government contracts to businesses owned by women and minorities.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that Ron Villanueva of Virginia Beach was arrested Thursday. He told reporters outside a federal court in Norfolk that he's "a man of integrity and honor" and looks forward to his day in court.

Federal prosecutors said Villanueva helped to secretly operate two businesses that were purportedly run by other people.

Court documents said the companies, SEK Solutions and Karda Systems, received more than $80 million in contracts. Villanueva and an immediate family member received about $1 million in income.

Villanueva served in Virginia's House of Delegates from 2010 to 2018. The Republican lost to a Democrat during the 2017 election.

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