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Topeka contractor admits fraudulently applying for government contracts

(WCAX)
Published: Jun. 4, 2019 at 10:36 AM CDT
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A Topeka businessman pleaded guilty on Monday to a federal charge linked to fraudulently applying for and receiving construction contracts.

Matthew C. McPherson made the plea in a Kansas City, Mo., courtroom.

McPherson appeared in the federal court to waive indictment, then changed his not guilty plea to guilty to a federal felony, court records said.

McPherson, 43, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, court records said.

Penalties for the conviction include the possibility of a sentence to five years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, and three years of supervised release.

Prosecutors are seeking a forfeiture of "approximately $5,516,786, court records said.

McPherson remains free on bond.

Court documents didn't specify when McPherson would be sentenced.

McPherson made the plea to U.S. District Court Judge Roseann Ketchmark in a Kansas City, Missouri, courtroom.

McPherson operated a construction company with its primary location in Topeka.

Federal agencies are required to set aside a percentage of contracts to provide goods and perform services for qualified small businesses. Some of the federal "set aside contracts" are awarded small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.

McPherson, who isn't a veteran or "a socially and economically disadvantaged individual," and two other conspirators "sought to fraudulently obtain federal set-aside contracts to which they were entitled," federal court records said.

McPherson wasn't qualified to compete for small "business set aside contracts because he was not an SDV or qualified minority," court records said.