The president of a firm tasked with producing parts for military helicopters has been charged in relation to an alleged fraud involving false billing. Prosecutors claim that the firm fraudulently billed the federal government for $1.2 million in relation to its work on drive shaft couplings for Chinook helicopters. The defendant in the case is also the majority owner of the helicopter component contractor, which is based in southeastern Pennsylvania.
The defendant's firm had been awarded a pair of contracts in 2007 to produce the drive shaft couplings. Under the terms of the contracts, the firm was to manufacture a total of 726 of the components over the course of seven years. According to prosecutors, the fraudulent billing continued until 2013, when the firm's machine shop was searched by federal investigators. The defendant has been charged with submitting false claims, obstruction of auditors and major fraud against the United States.
The defendant in this case may wish to retain defense counsel to represent him in court as he faces significant penalties under federal law if convicted. A conviction on a charge of major fraud against the United States carries penalties including up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $1 million.
A criminal defense attorney in a case similar to this one would likely review the circumstances under which investigators searched the defendant's facilities. If the attorney was able to prove that the searches had been performed illegally, evidence discovered in the searches might be ruled inadmissible. The attorney would also likely examine the evidence of the alleged false billing to determine the strength of the prosecution's case and whether a favorable plea bargain could be secured.
Source: "Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute, "18 U.S. Code § 1031 - Major fraud against the United States."
Source: NBC Philadelphia, "Business Owner Charged in Alleged Fraud", July 18, 2014