Feds Shut Down Plants Over Claims They Sold Defective Bearings
JAMESTOWN, N.Y. (AP) _ Federal agents raided and shut down two plants and weekend workers stayed home as federal agents investigate claims that the company sold defective bearings to the government.
Agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service shut down the MRC Bearings plants Friday in Jamestown, 57 miles south of Buffalo, and nearby Falconer. Nearly 900 workers at the plants were told to stay home through Sunday.
A Navy report said MRC Bearings’ products threatened flight safety. It did not say if they have been linked to any accidents.
MRC Bearings is a leader in the design and production of precision anti-friction bearings for the aerospace industry. Owned by the Swedish company SKF, the world’s largest bearings manufacturer, it holds more than $22 million in Defense Department contracts, according to the report.
The bearings are used in planes, jets and helicopters for all branches of the armed forces, NASA, the Department of Transportation and commercial airlines.
It was not immediately known if any charges had been filed in the two-year investigation.
Lars G. Malmer, senior vice president at MRC’s parent company SKF in Goteborg, Sweden, said news of the raid was ``very surprising.″
``We don’t know what happened, we have not been given any official statement,″ Malmer told The Associated Press.
``We have cooperated with the authorities and are waiting the outcome (of the investigation),″ Malmer said.
Federal investigators executing a search warrant removed dozens of cardboard boxes throughout the day Friday from the Jamestown plant, 57 miles south of Buffalo. Malmer said the documents seized were vital for production.
``Hopefully the authorities will provide us with copies so we can restart production,″ he said.
The search warrant was secured under a sealed affidavit, meaning the circumstances were not being made public, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel L. Violanti said.