Army liaison charged in military contract bribery scheme
- A U.S. Army Contracting Command New Jersey employee has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the government and with accepting bribes from construction contractors in his role as contract specialist, according to the Daily Record.
- Authorities allege that Kevin Leondi demanded and collected $125,000 from one contractor so that another contractor could win subcontract work on two New Jersey military installations. Prosecutors claim he also exacted $30,000 from a manager for the prime contractor on base renovations and directed that company to also do free construction work at a colleague's home and pay $50,000 toward that person's mortgage.
- The conspiracy charge alone carries a five-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $250,000. Leondi's attorney said his client would plead not guilty, according to NJ.com.
Construction fraud on military projects is not a rarity. In fact, just last month, a Pennsylvania contractor pleaded guilty to paying up to $245,000 in kickbacks in exchange for subcontracts at two New Jersey military installation projects. George Grassie faces up to 15 years in prison and major fines when he is sentenced in May.
In another case last August involving a Pennsylvania construction company and New Jersey military facilities, contractor James Conway pleaded guilty to accepting $180,000 in kickbacks from subcontractors who paid in order to receive "favorable treatment" from him in his role as construction manager. Prosecutors also said Conway gave his own company subcontracts, concealing his ownership along the way. Conway allegedly did not perform the work or only partially completed the work under those contracts. As a result of Conway's malfeasance, the projects lost approximately $1.4 million.
Also last summer, a San Diego contractor paid $5.4 million to settle charges that it presented falsified bills for work at two military bases. The U.S. attorney said Harper Construction Company enlisted the help of disadvantaged businesses to make it look as though those companies were providing services when the company was doing the work itself through an associated business.
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