Grand jury indicts Bluff contractor

Thursday, September 20, 2001

A Poplar Bluff contractor has been indicted for obtaining millions of dollars in federal contracts by falsely representing his company as a Native-American-owned business, federal court records state.

Michael F. Persons, 45, is free on bond after a federal grand jury indicted him on numerous violations.

He faces 12 felony charges, including obtaining illegal kickbacks, mail fraud, false statements, abuse of set-aside program and contract fraud against the government.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Price said Persons, president and primary owner of KAJACS Contractors Inc., has surrendered to federal authorities.

KAJACS was also indicted on four fraud charges.

Price said Persons had made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lewis Blanton on Friday for arraignment and a detention hearing. Blanton set a $10,000 secured bond, which Persons posted.

According to the indictment, on March 26, 1996, Persons allegedly used intimidation or threats against two KAJACS employees to obtain part of their compensation during a government sewer system construction project.

The indictment further charges that in September and October of 1996, Persons allegedly obtained money from various insurance companies providing coverage to or on behalf of Persons and KAJACS by means of fraudulent pretenses and false representations.

Mail fraud

The indictment alleges that on three separate occasions, Persons used the U.S. mail to defraud the insurance companies.

False inventory list of tools and equipment stolen and false invoices were allegedly among the items delivered by mail to insurance companies, the indictment says.

Checks from the insurance companies were then sent back via the mail to Persons and KAJACS based on those claims, the indictment says.

The indictment also alleges that Persons submitted false statements and fraudulent documents to the Small Business Administration in a "scheme to obtain special considerations during the procurement process of contract awards with the United States."

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