A Missouri man who operated a construction company was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison without parole for participating in a “rent-a-vet” scheme to obtain millions of dollars in federal contracts.

Fifty-three-year-old Jeffrey Wilson, of Belton, was sentenced Thursday and ordered to forfeit about $2.1 million to the government.

Prosecutors say Wilson managed the operations of Patriot Company, a construction company. Wilson, who is not a veteran, and a co-defendant, 57-year-old Paul Salavitch, of Kansas City, falsely claimed that Salavitch, a disabled veteran, was involved in the daily operations of the company. That certification made the Patriot Company eligible for federal contracts.

The company obtained 20 government contracts worth more than $13.7 million.

Salavitch has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of making a false writing and awaits sentencing.

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