Harford businessman indicted in $500,000 theft from veterans

October 26, 2007|By Madison Park

A Harford County businessman who is an officer in the Maryland VFW has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of bilking fellow veterans out of almost $500,000, the county state's attorney's office said yesterday.

Allen Wayne Shatto, 60, was charged with 110 counts including theft, forgery and conspiracy in the theft from more than 50 veterans from 2003 to 2005, said State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly. Shatto, a Bel Air resident, solicited donations for the building of a veterans home, Cassilly said.

"He solicited half a million dollars and put it to his own purposes," Cassilly said, adding that donors reported Shatto because the home was never built.

Shatto is a retired Army captain who spent 12 years at Aberdeen Proving Ground. He also is listed as commander of the Harford County district of the Maryland Veterans of Foreign Wars for 2007-2008, according to the organization's Web site. District 5 comprises seven VFW posts in Harford County.

He owns A&L Shatto Inc., a Bel Air engineering and regulatory compliance service. The company was one of Maryland's fastest-growing technology companies in the mid-1990s and had contracts with the U.S. military.

"He's an honorably discharged Vietnam-era vet. ... He's a good man, a good boss. I hope it can all be resolved," Henry Bennett, senior industrial hygienist at the company, said yesterday when reached by telephone.

Shatto was arrested Wednesday by county sheriff's deputies and is scheduled for a bail review today.

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