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By Debbie Gregory.

A 53-year-old business owner and a 57-year-old service-disabled vet have pleaded guilty to engaging in a pass-through scheme designed to fraudulently land $13.8 million in federal contracts set aside for veteran-owned small businesses.

Jeffrey Wilson and his partner in crime, Paul Salavitch, hatched a “rent a vet” scam that led to the charges.

By listing Salavitch as the person responsible for the day-to-day operations of Patriot Company, a construction business owned by Wilson, they were able to leverage Salavitch’s disabled status to access lucrative contracts that the company otherwise wouldn’t qualify for.

As a result, the company 20 government contracts worth almost $14 million, with some worth as much as $4.3 million apiece.

The fraud was uncovered in 2013, when the Department of Veterans Affairs visited Patriot Company’s headquarters unannounced. Of course, Salavitch was nowhere to be found; Salavitch had a job as a federal employee with the Department of Defense in Leavenworth and did not actively run the company, located in Kansas City.

Salavitch told the Missouri Division of Purchasing and Materials Management that Patriot Company was a “legitimate service-disabled veteran-owned small business,”  knowing that it wasn’t.

Under the terms of their plea agreement, Wilson now faces a sentence of up to 18 months in prison without parole. Salavitch faces up to one year in prison without parole. Both also consented to a civil forfeiture agreement of about $2.1 million.

While thousands of combat wounded and service disabled men and women work hard to succeed in American business, corrupt business owners continue to defraud the U.S. government by falsely claiming they are eligible for these set-asides.

When these fraudsters illegally secure SDVOSB contracts, our nation’s taxpayers and legitimate service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses suffer.

road work

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved H.R. 1694, the Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act. The legislation would include veterans in the Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program and would provide parity for the nearly 1 million veterans who are small business owners seeking government contracts. This would level the playing field in federal contracting for veteran-owned businesses by providing veterans access to existing preferences authorized for transportation projects.

Sponsored by Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) and Don Young (R-Alaska), the legislation calls for states that receive federal money for transportation projects to included veteran-owned businesses in their contracting processes. They added that there are 380,000 construction firms that are owned by veterans in the U.S. that could help build projects across the nation.

Currently, only half of the states meet their DBE goals. Adding veteran small businesses to this program would increase the pool of eligible firms at the states’ disposal. For states that already meet their goals, this bill does not affect them or the small business contractors they employ.

“Our veterans are the most highly skilled workforce in America’s history – the product of rigorous training, an iron-clad commitment to teamwork and the remarkable ability to succeed where others might fail,” said Fitzpatrick. He continued. “We need Fairness to Veterans so we are leveraging the unique strengths of veteran entrepreneurs to address the challenges at home.”

“There’s no question that America’s veterans, who have sacrificed so much for the greater good, are able and ready to put their battle tested skills towards improving our nation’s roads, highways, and critical infrastructure projects,” said Young

The legislation now goes on to the Senate for consideration. The text of the bill is available on the Congress.gov website.

VAMBOA NVSBEVeterans who are interested in starting or expanding their small businesses should save the date and register today for the largest and most comprehensive Veteran Small Business Expo of the year.

Each year, for the last four years, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and several other government agencies have collaborated to put on the largest event for Veteran entrepreneurs in the country, called the National Veterans Small Business Engagement (NVSBE).

The theme of NVSBE 2014 is “ACCESS” which is an acronym for “Advocate, Create, Commit, Expand, Strengthen, Sustain.” The event is designed to connect Veteran-owned Small Businesses and Veteran entrepreneurs with exclusive access to networking opportunities and learning sessions.

With 3,000 attendees expected, as well as more than 400 exhibitors and 25 government agencies, the NVSBE is a must-attend event for Veteran-owned small businesses.

The NVSBE is chalk full of activities designed to aid in the success of Veteran business ventures. Each day of the event has an Agenda that includes networking functions and breakout learning sessions.The learning sessions consist of dozens of topics that attendees can register for, according to their needs. Topics include creating a small business, business expansion, financing, government contracts, Veterans assistance, procurements, sustaining a small business, leadership, service-disabled Veteran-owned business resources and many more. The last day of the event includes an awards ceremony and one-on-one follow-up meetings with procurement decision makers and program professionals.

One of the most advantageous reasons to attend the NVSBE is the direct access to procurement decision makers, program specialists and acquisition staff from government agencies and large corporations.

The three day event will be held on December 9, 10 and 11, 2014, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. To register for the 2014 NVSBE in Atlanta, please visit the Registration Information Page.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Veterans Small Business Expo: By Debbie Gregory

T4NGAs many business owners in the technology industry know, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for tech companies in support of their impending $22.3 billion IT overhaul. All RFI submissions were due on August 28th, and the VA’s Technology Acquisition Center recently held an Industry Day for upcoming bidders.

The VA has dubbed the project the Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology Next Generation (T4NG) contract. The T4NG contract will be an Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Multiple Award Task Order contract. For T4NG, the VA is looking for contractors to provide total IT services solutions, including the following functional areas:

  • Program management
  • Systems and software engineering
  • Software technology demonstration and transition
  • Test and evaluation
  • Independent verification and validation
  • Enterprise network and enterprise management framework
  • Operations and maintenance
  • Cyber security
  • Training
  • Information technology facilities
  • Other solutions encompassing the entire range of IT and Health IT requirements, including software/hardware incidental to the solution

At the Industry Day for the contract, the importance of employing Veterans was stressed to potential vendors. The evaluation factors for vendors will include technical, past performance, Veterans involvement, Veterans employment, small business participation commitment, and price.

The VA announced plans to award up to 20 IDIQ contracts under T4NG, which will be good for an initial five year period, with an option for an additional five years.

The VA is reserving twelve spots strictly for small businesses. There are also eight reserved contracts for companies that  are Veteran-owned, four for Veteran-owned small businesses, and four for Service-Disabled Veteran-owned small businesses.

The VA plans to release the T4NG draft request for proposals soon, with proposals due December, 2014. The announcement for awarding contracts is expected by December, 2015.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: VA’s Multi-Billion Dollar Contract Proceeds: By Debbie Gregory

DVBEThe California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) is announcing its first annual Veterans Business Forum. The forum will be held as part of the Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Conference & Expo, hosted by the California Department of General Services (DGS).

The State of California established the Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise (DVBE) Program to increase business opportunities for the DVBE community. In order to be considered a disabled Veteran for DVBE purposes, the person must have served in the U.S. military, be 10% or more service-disabled, and reside in California.

Eligible disabled Veterans can apply to have their businesses DVBE Certified if their company is at least 51% owned by one or more eligible disabled Veterans. Additionally, the daily business operations must be managed and controlled by one or more disabled Veterans

California State agencies are required to strive to award at least 3% of their annual contracting dollars to certified DVBE companies. The program helps DVBE companies participate on more of alevel playing field when competing for state government contracts.

CalVet’s first annual Veterans Business Forum is intended to educated disabled Veteran business owners about the support and resources that CalVet and the DGS provide.

At the event, disabled Veteran business owners can learn how to get their business DVBE Certified in order to compete for California’s government contracts.

Some 30 California state agencies will be represented for the purpose of Business Matchmaking. Service disabled Veteran business owners will be able to participate in three to six separate ten minute rotations with state agencies and corporations, as well as a one-hour session with federal procurement agents.

The event will also feature the “State Opportunity Showcase” presented by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The Veterans Business Forum will be held on October 1, 2014, from 7:00 am to 4:30 pm at the Department of General Services’ Headquarters in the Ziggurat Auditorium, located at 707 3rd Street, West Sacramento, CA 95605.

To register for the Veterans Business Forum, follow the link to the CA.gov Registration page.

 To register for the VA’s “State Opportunity Showcase” and Business Matchmaking session, please follow the link to the Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBEC)– West website at : http://www.procurementregistration.com/wbec/. The link to register ison the left side, halfway down the page. Registration for these events must be submitted by September 17, 2014.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: CalVet to Host Veteran Business Forum:   By Debbie Gregory

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