A veteran and Department of Defense employee has been charged with fronting a shell company to obtain $18.3 million in veteran-owned business contracts from the federal government.

Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri charged Paul R. Salavitch, 56, of Kansas City, Mo., in an eight-count indictment on Jan. 13, alongside alleged co-conspirator Jeffrey K. Wilson, 51, of the Village of Loch Lloyd in Belton, Mo.

Salavitch is accused using his veteran status to obtain federal contracts as president of a construction company called Patriot Company, Inc., which was owned by Wilson.

The contracts were reserved for veteran-owned or service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, but prosecutors said Salavitch and Wilson instead funneled Patriot Company’s contracts to another construction company that Wilson owned.

Patriot Company was ultimately awarded 20 construction contracts from the Department of Veterans and the U.S. Army totaling $13.8 million, with some contracts reaching as high as $4.3 million apiece.

Investigators said Salavitch worked for the DoD in Leavenworth, Kansas, but also "nominally" served as president of Patriot Company from 2005 to 2014, despite having no experience managing a construction company and limited government contracting experience.

During that time, Wilson allegedly used funds from Patriot’s contracts to purchase homes in Village of Louch and Mesa, Ariz., as well as pay the premiums on two life insurance policies.

The indictment calls on Salavitch, Wilson and Patriot Company, Inc., to forfeit any property obtained as a result of the scheme, in addition to the $2.15 million seized by law enforcement.

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