Joe H. Nichols Helped Himself to Money That Was Supposed to Be Helping U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

What was supposed to be a good thing for U.S. soldiers stuck fighting battles in remote locations in Iraq, turned out to be nothing but a fraudulent profit venture by a 46-year-old Houston man.

Joe H. Nichols has pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in federal court after he took $100,000 in donated funds that were supposed to go to establish a better communications system for soldiers in Iraq.

The money had been donated by the national office of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston, Nichols and his company, Prasolus, were supposed to be the project manager and get communication hardware and software to Iraq.

"The Texas VFW raised approximately $182,000,: for the project. Nichols submitted invoices for payment. But in June 2007, Nichols asked for more money -- the additional $100,000 -- from the national VFW headquarters in Kansas City and ended up keeping that money for himself.

Nichols, who is scheduled to be sentenced October 22, faces 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing