U.S.

March 30, 2012

News Briefs March 29, 2012

Debris blamed for deadly Marine chopper crash

An internal investigation says a deadly Marine helicopter crash in Southern California last year was likely caused by debris that hit the tail rotor, along with a design flaw and pilot error.

U-T San Diego obtained documents on the investigation into the July crash at Camp Pendleton that killed one Marine and injured five others.

The Marines found that debris such as a stray bolt damaged the tail rotor and the chopper’s drive train was destroyed, causing a loss of tail rotor thrust. The pilot aggravated the situation by trying to move forward instead of reducing the throttle.

The investigation says that was a training problem and no administration action was recommended against the crew. It says the helicopter lacked protective barriers that might have prevented the debris damage. AP

 

Navy employees, contractors plead guilty to fraud

Federal officials in San Diego say four Navy employees and three defense contractors have pleaded guilty to fraud tied to a wide-ranging corruption scheme at a Naval air station that involved more than $1 million in bribes.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy announced the pleas March 28.

Prosecutors say the defense contractors gave the civilian employees at the Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, Calif., more than $1 million in bribes, including cash, retail gift cards, flat screen television sets, luxury massage chairs, furniture, appliances, bicycles, home remodeling services and model airplanes.

In return, prosecutors say the civilian officials placed millions of dollars in fraudulent orders with contractors.

The employees worked for a program that maintains Navy aircraft. AP

 

Retired colonel sentenced for embezzling millions

A retired National Guard colonel has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud and theft charges after embezzling more than $2 million from a charitable fund.

Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona says 66-year-old James Eugene Burnes was also ordered March 28 to serve a seven year probation term when he’s released from state prison.

Burnes was the resource manager for the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs. Prosecutors said that between 2007 and 2011 he diverted money from funds that were intended to provide emergency assistance to Arizona National Guard members and their families.

Prosecutors said Burnes took the money so he could gamble. AP




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NASA photograph by David Olive

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