A Texas contractor faces federal prison time and fines for his role in a long-running scheme to fraudulently secure government contracts by posing as a disabled veteran-owned business.

On June 29, a federal district court jury in San Antonio, Texas, found Michael Angelo Padron guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, and six counts of wire fraud. Padron was found not guilty on two additional counts of wire fraud.

Padron, along with his co-defendant and business partner Michael Wibracht, were accused of misrepresenting four general construction companies between 1998 and 2018 to give them the appearance of being Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses, thereby eligible to be considered for contracts under the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program.

Although a third co-defendant, Ruben Villarreal, an actual service-disabled veteran was listed at various times as the companies’ majority or sole owner, Padron and Wibracht allegedly retained disqualifying financial and operational control over the companies. Prosecutors claimed that the scheme totaled more than $240 million in fraudulently obtained government contracts that actually benefitted Padron and Wibracht’s larger, ineligible companies.

The March 17, 2021, federal grand jury indictment detailing charges against Padron identified the companies only by their initials. An August 2021 report of Padron being refused access to Lackland Air Force Base because of the charges identified him as president of San Antonio general construction contractor Mapco, Inc.

Padron is scheduled to be sentenced on October 19. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy count, and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each wire fraud count. According to the U.S. Justice Department, the maximum fine for an individual may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime, or twice the loss suffered by victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine. A federal judge will determine any sentence after considering sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Padron’s attorneys told ENR they plan to appeal the verdict.

Villareal, who entered a plea agreement with the government for one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S in 2020, will also be sentenced October 19. Wibracht entered a plea agreement with the government for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and defraud the U.S, in February 2021, and waived indictment, according to court records. He faces a maximum penalty of a $250,000 fine and up to five years in prison.