KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The owner of a Texas business pleaded guilty for his role in an $840,000 scheme to defraud a Missouri construction company.

Federal prosecutors say 49-year-old Brian Newkirk, of Houston, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of wire fraud in a scheme that involved defrauding the J.E. Dunn Construction Company.

Newkirk’s firm, Search Group International, was one of three businesses hired to find employees for the company. Prosecutors say he paid kickbacks to John Kirwin, of Lee’s Summit, who was an internal recruiter for J.E. Dunn.

Prosecutors say invoices submitted by Newkirk and another defendant, Debi Jordan, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, included highly inflated amounts or discussed employees that were never hired by the company.

Kirwin and Jordan also have pleaded guilty in the case.