I Did a Background Check on the Man Who May Have Scammed the US Government
A bankrupt ghost corporation earned a $55 million contract to make N95 masks it may never deliver.
Disclaimer: I have reason to believe the person behind Panthera Worldwide LLC, given investigative journalism efforts by publications such as Business Insider, took advantage of contacts within government to defraud American taxpayers. James V. Punelli has not yet been accused of any crime, and is thus innocent until proven guilty. All information provided here is publicly available.
You may have heard about a contract recently awarded to Panthera Worldwide LLC, in which the bankrupt company would procure heavily marked-up N95 masks. Well, I decided to take a closer look at the executive who was interviewed, James V. Punelli. I bought a background report on Whitepages, expecting to find nothing. Let’s just say that if I ended up finding nothing, I wouldn’t be writing this article. While the connection between James V. Punelli and his Whitepages listing is yet to be confirmed, I have decided to share this publicly available information as it likely pertains to the events at hand.
For starters, the address he portrays as his home is actually a PO Box at a UPS store in Reston, Virginia. This has been the case for the past twelve years, and he hasn’t had an actual home address since 2008. This is suspicious, but obviously not illegal. He also has some criminal records, but none that are remotely related to this issue at hand.
Whitepages lists contacts with whom James has done business, as well as the criminal history of these people. One person, in particular, stood out: Dennis Scott Foster. Upon further investigation, I discovered he was an attorney at law, employed by Gentry Locke Attorneys, where he specializes in ‘legislative affairs’. Here’s an excerpt from their website:
While there is confusion as to why a bankrupt ‘tactical military training’ company can be awarded such a lucrative contract, perhaps this information clears things up a bit. There is no evidence yet that James V. Punelli is stealing from the US Government, or that D. Scott Foster is assisting in a coverup, but given their potential relation to the shady Panthera Worldwide LLC operation something is amiss.