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July 21, 2014

News Briefs July 21, 2014

Corruption investigated in Kansas National Guard

The Kansas Adjutant General’s office says federal authorities are investigating possible corruption involving outside medical companies’ contracts with the Kansas Army National Guard.

Sharon Watson, spokeswoman for the adjutant general’s office, confirmed the investigation Friday to The Lawrence Journal-World but declined to release specific details. She said the investigation involves concerns of inappropriate conduct on medical contracts.

The Journal-World reports Watson’s statement was in response to questions it asked about allegations that a captain in the Guard’s Medical Detachment received gifts from Dentrust, a Pennsylvania company that performs dental screenings and treatment for Guard soldiers.

Dentrust is one of three firms that contract with the Guard for those services. In federal fiscal years 2012-2013, it received more than $585,000 under those contracts. AP

EPA orders Army to clean up Louisiana explosives

Federal environmental officials have overruled the U.S. Army’s attempt to decline responsibility for explosive materials stored at a northwest Louisiana site.

The Environmental Protection Agency had ordered the Army to take charge of the improperly stored artillery propellant in March, but the Army appealed, saying it shouldn’t have to clean up the 15 million pounds of M6 propellant that it shipped to Explo Systems at Camp Minden, a Louisiana National Guard installation.

The EPA rejected the appeal July 16, writing that the Army was responsible because it shouldn’t have trusted that Explo could handle so much M6.

An investigator discovered the propellant after a 2012 explosion.

The EPA says three private owners – General Dynamics Corp., Alliant Techsystems and Ashland Inc. unit Hercules – are cleaning up their share. AP

Oregon contractor pleads guilty to defrauding U.S. government

An Oregon defense contractor has pleaded guilty to selling $10 million worth of phony parts for attack helicopters and trucks to the U.S. government, including a locknut that secures the rotor on the Kiowa attack helicopter.

According to court records, Kustom Products Inc. owner Harold Ray Bettencourt II and four employees pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Portland to conspiracy to defraud the United States. Sentencing is scheduled Dec. 10.

Authorities said the company lied to the Defense Department to secure 750 contracts worth $10 million. They were able to undercut bids from other companies by substituting phony parts for genuine parts, and produced phony records to cover up the substitution, the government said.
A defense attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment. AP

Boeing procurement officer pleads guilty to fraud

A former procurement officer for Boeing in St. Louis, Mo., has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges for his role in a bribery and kickback scheme involving military aircraft parts sold to Boeing.

Deon Anderson plead guilty July 18 in federal court to three felony counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of currency structuring. Sentencing is Oct. 15.

Anderson was convicted of taking bribes from companies seeking to sell parts for military aircraft to Boeing, in exchange for providing them with confidential information such as competitor bids.

Owners of two firms involved in the kickback scheme have been convicted and are awaiting sentencing. A fourth defendant is awaiting trial. AP




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