Strong Castle CEO Charged With Wife's Murder
Braulio Castillo, president and CEO of embattled government VAR Strong Castle, is currently behind bars and being held without bond after being arrested and charged with first-degree murder of his estranged wife, the co-founder and former COO of the Leesburg, Va., solution provider.
The Loudon County Sherriff's Office in Virginia is alleging that Castillo killed his estranged wife, Michelle Castillo.
On March 20, the 43-year-old mother of five was found hanging in her home in Ashburn, Va., by sheriff's deputies responding for a "check the welfare call." However, the suicide was staged to cover up a murder, alleges Michael Chapman, sheriff of Loudon County of Virginia.
"It took awhile [to bring charges] because we had to get forensic evidence. The hanging, [determined] by the medical examiner, does not appear to be the cause of death," said Chapman.
"It had actually been a physical altercation with her [where] she was beaten and suffocated before hanging," Chapman alleged.
Separated for more than a year, Michelle Castillo had a protective order against her estranged husband, said Chapman. "There was a protective order against Braulio to not visit his wife or children. Basically, there was a lot of friction between the two," said Chapman.
Castillo's attorney, Alex Levay, was unavailable for comment.
Strong Castle did not return requests for comment.
Last June, Castillo and Strong Castle were heavily scrutinized following a hearing before Congress. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a report alleging that Strong Castle was involved in fraud with the IRS, securing at least $500 million in IRS IT contracts. Castillo denied the allegations.
Castillo's close relationship with Greg Roseman, IRS Deputy Director for IT Acquisition, significantly influenced the awarding of contracts, according to the report.
NEXT: Controversy With Department Of Veterans Affairs
Castillo had also used a previous foot injury during his nine-month stint at Cadet Candidate, a U.S. military prep school, to obtain a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) status for his company, according to the committee's report.
For 27 years, Castillo didn't rely on government support for his injury, according the report. But only months before starting his business with Michelle in early 2012, he received the service-disabled status from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Braulio was blasted by Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., an Iraq war veteran and double amputee, during the hearing for allegedly misusing the SDVOSB status.
However, Strong Castle said in September that the Department of Veterans Affairs had confirmed Strong Castle's SDVOSB status following "a thorough review."
"This decision by the Center for Veterans Enterprise means that Strong Castle, Inc. remains eligible to participate in Veterans First contracting opportunities," the company stated.
A spokesperson for the Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed Strong Castle's SDVOSB status to CRN Wednesday, noting that it is good through Aug. 3, 2014, when it will have to be renewed.
Braulio and Michelle Castillo acquired Signet Computers in early 2012 and renamed the solution provider Strong Castle. Michelle Castillo served as COO of the company before stepping down last June.
Castillo's next hearing is scheduled for May 15 at 1:30 p.m. in the Loudon Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court, according to a spokesperson for the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.
PUBLISHED APRIL 2, 2014