Samuel Zepeda Jr., who received the 2005 Illinois "small business person of the year" award from a federal agency, allegedly paid a married couple who held top Army contracting positions as much as $270,000 to bolster his new company's prospects, according to recently unsealed court records.
He has not been charged. Federal authorities are examining bank records and six years' worth of contracts Zepeda's company, Vistas Construction of Illinois, and two related companies received as part of an investigation into possible contract fraud, bribery and wire fraud charges, records show.
Nix, a retired captain, resigned from his civilian position with the Army last year and now works directly for Zepeda, according to the affidavit. His wife, Velma Salinas-Nix, is a top civilian contracting official at Fort. Sam Houston in Texas.