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The Only Thing Worse Than This Company’s $13.8 Million ‘Rent A Vet’ Scam Was Its Name
Are you a business owner who’s fallen on hard times? Having trouble getting those juicy government contracts? There may be a solution. Try enlisting a veteran, and you’ll see your bids skyrocket to the top of the list. It’s easy: Just hire a service-disabled vet to “run” daily operations — on paper only — and you’ll soon be able to beat legitimate veteran-owned businesses for big government contracts in no time.
Not sure if this is entirely legal? Well, no, it’s not. That’s why Jeffrey Wilson, a 53-year-old business owner from Belton, Missouri, recently pleaded guilty to government program fraud. His partner in crime, a 57-year-old service-disabled vet named Paul Salavitch, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for his role in the $13.8 million “rent a vet” scam, according to a Jan. 31 Department of Justice statement.
Here’s how the scheme worked: Between May 2005 and January 2014, Salavitch was listed as running the day-to-day operations of Patriot Company, a Kansas City-based front for a Greenwood, Missouri, construction business Wilson owned at the time.
However, Salavitch’s operations role was a farce — which makes sense, since he had no experience managing a construction company and limited government contracting experience. Because of his status as a service-disabled veteran, Patriot Company was able to access special (and lucrative) contracts that it otherwise wouldn’t qualify for. These contracts were then passed to Wilson’s real businesses. According to the Department of Justice release, Wilson admitted to using Salavitch’s disabled veteran status in a “rent a vet” scheme to net the company 20 government contracts worth almost $14 million, with some worth as much as $4.3 million apiece.
The scheme was uncovered in September 2013, when the Department of Veterans Affairs conducted an unannounced site visit to Patriot Company’s headquarters in Kansas City. When the site inspectors arrived, Salavitch was nowhere to be found — surprising, considering his role in the day-to-day ops are what qualified the business for all those contracts. Instead, Salavitch was at his real job, 40 miles away... working as a federal employee with the Department of Defense in Leavenworth, Kansas.
That November, when Salavitch was pressed by the Missouri Division of Purchasing and Materials Management about whether Patriot Company was in fact a “legitimate service-disabled veteran-owned small business,” he falsely claimed that it was, knowing that wasn’t the case. By December of that year, the business was de-certified by the VA.
As for the money Wilson and Salavitch unjustly got their hands on? Wilson wired roughly half a million for use as a down payment on a home purchase — $250,000 of which originated from Patriot Company’s bank account. He also used $175,000 to pay for a residence in Mesa, Arizona, and $400,000 from the shell business to cover the premiums for life insurance policies, according to a Jan. 13, 2017, indictment.
Under the terms of their plea agreement, Wilson and Salavitch must consent to forfeit roughly $2.1 million, and Wilson faces up to a year and a half in federal prison without parole. Salavitch faces up to a year behind bars in the big house.
Police arrest suspected terrorist for 1985 hijacking in which Navy diver Robert D. Stethem was murdered
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.
A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.
Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.
Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.
Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.
For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.
On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a "safe zone" in northeast Syria this month.
"Our preparations along our borders are complete," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.