- Associated Press - Monday, April 17, 2017

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) - Federal authorities say 1,200 companies were scammed by a Florida man who charged them $500 fees to register them with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for preferred treatment on contract bidding.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports (https://bit.ly/2ovytIR ) that 48-year-old Michael Pirolo of Palm Harbor pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Authorities said Pirolo’s company, Government Contract Registry Inc., pocketed $600,000 in the scheme. FEMA offers no preferential treatment on contract bidding.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said about 1,200 companies were misled by Pirolo’s scam, which ran from June 2014 to October 2016.

Under the plea agreement, Pirolo agreed to cooperate with investigators. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of at least $250,000. He’ll be sentenced in Tampa federal court later this year.

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