Man sentenced for defrauding service-disabled veteran program

Updated: 06/05/2014 3:04 PM | Created: 06/05/2014 2:56 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed,

The owner of an Albuquerque area construction company and his son were sentenced Thursday for defrauding a program that helps service-disabled veteran business owners.

In February of 2012, Max Tafoya and his son, Tyler Cole, were charged with obtaining $11 million for falsely claiming that Tafoya's company, M.R. Tafoya Construction, was qualified to participate in a federal program that provides contracts for businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. 

Tafoya was sentenced to nearly five years in prison and ordered to pay $1.3 million. Cole will serve three years behind bars and be liable for $500,000 of that amount.

Tafoya is a veteran, but he does not have a service-related disability. Tafoya admitted to authorities that he paid his stepbrother, a service-disabled veteran who lives in Florida, to use his name and status in order to obtain federal contracts for his construction company.

His stepbrother, Andrew Castillo, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge. He will be sentenced on June 19.

Photo: MGN

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