Crooks plead guilty in rent-a-vet scheme

#Middlebury #VeteransPost

Two crooks pleaded guilty to stealing money from the government in a set-aside program for veteran-owned businesses. Specifically, these two got nearly $14 million in construction contracts (20 of them) spread out in 11 states over nine years. Both were veterans.

In 2004, Jeffrey Wilson and Paul Salavitch set up the Patriot Company. Wilson ran the whole thing as a front for his own construction company. Salavitch, the service-disabled veteran, didn’t run the company, make day-to-day decisions, had never managed a construction company and didn’t have much government contracting experience – all requirements for the program. He was president on paper only. His pal Wilson said they needed stuff from Salavitch (plaques, Army items, anything personal) that would make one of the offices look like it actually belonged to Salavitch.

What, then, did Salavitch actually do? He was a full-time employee of the Department of Defense in Leavenworth, Kan.

Wilson, meanwhile, had fun with some of the money. He put down nearly half a million dollars on a house he bought, and a quarter of a million to pay off his previous house. Not only that, but he used company money to buy another house out of state and paid $400,000 for life insurance premiums.

Inquiring minds want to know: If the duo was hit with four counts each, why were they allowed to plead it down? And if the government grabbed $2.1 million in repayment, what happens to the rest of that $14 million?

Then there’s the prison time … minimal. A possible year for one, a year and a half for the other. Seems like the sentence would at least equal the length of time the duo was in business, which was nine years.

Scammers, take note. Whistleblowers are everywhere.

(c) 2018 King Features Synd. Inc.


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