Braulio Castillo first became famous when he was the subject of a House investigation into how he parlayed a 30-year-old prep school ankle injury into getting $500 million in contracts in the form of a special service-disabled veteran status for his company Signet Computers.
He suffered the injury while attending the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School in 1984 but played football the next year at the University of San Diego. In 2012 he filed a claim with the Veterans Affairs office to get the special status as a service-disable veteran.
His special status helped get his company Signet Computers (renamed Strong Castle in 2013) contracts worth up to $500 million but also drew the scrutiny of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
But on April 1 the 43-year-old Castillo was arrested by the Loudon County Sheriff’s office and is being charged with the murder of his estranged wife. The charge is first-degree murder.
The victim, Michelle G. Castillo, was found dead in her home on March 20th by police checking on her wellbeing.
“During the investigation the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office executed multiple search warrants at two locations and conducted door-to-door canvasses throughout the area,” according to the Loudon County Sheriff’s office.
Once approved, the disability enabled Castillo’s company access to government set-asides through VA’s Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business program.
Castillo told a VA examiner weighing the company’s application for entry into the special set-aside program about the “crosses I bear due to my service to our great country,” according to the House report.
He later told congressional investigators that his injury was debilitating over the years and that he’d had three foot fusions. Had Castillo completed his year at the preparatory school without injury, he wouldn’t have been considered a veteran, but a VA official told House investigators that cadets injured at school become veterans due to service-connected disability, the report said.
The House report also found Castillo’s newly purchased company had no experience with the IRS, but it still won lucrative information technology contracts worth up to $500 million in part because of its status as a HUBZone contractor and Castillo’s relationship with a top IRS contracting official.
Under Small Business Administration rules, a HUBZone, or Historically Underutilized Business Zone, designation gives contractors an edge in competing for federal work if they’re based in certain economically distressed areas.