Fraud Charged in Stealth Bomber Subcontracting Work
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ In separate cases, the federal government has accused a former Northrop Corp. engineer and the top executive of a high technology firm with fraud involving subcontract work on the Air Force’s top-secret stealth bomber.
William Reinke, 56, a former engineer with Northrop’s Advanced Systems Division in Pico Rivera, and Charles Lombard, 55, chief executive officer of Glendale-based Lamsco West Inc., were charged with fraud in complaints filed Monday by the U.S. attorney’s office.
Lombard, of Branford, Conn., will be arraigned in federal court March 10, and Reinke will appear for arraignment March 17, officials said. Both men face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Heather, who has been heading the federal investigation of Southern California’s defense industry, said a key tip in the Lombard case came from Blaisdell Manufacturing Inc. of Brea, Calif.
Blaisdell President Gerry Koch said the company contacted authorities after rival Lombard allegedly asked Blaisdell to work with Lamsco West to fix bid prices for stealth subcontracting.
Heather alleged that Lombard schemed to fix bids for a high technology laminate used to connect the wings to the bomber fuselage. Lamsco West is a subsidiary of Alinabal Inc., of Milford, Conn., and Lombard is vice chairman of Alinabal, Heather said.
In the other case, Reinke, of Brea, was accused of persuading Northrop officials to award $600,000 in subcontracts to RF Engineering, an Orange County firm that he secretly owned.
Parts for the stealth bomber sold to Northrop by RF Engineering were bought elsewhere and resold to Northrop at inflated prices, Heather said.
Last year, 10 people involved in defense subcontract work pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, kickbacks and bribery, and received sentences ranging from probation to three years in prison.
Many of them cooperated with investigators by providing information about other illicit schemes, authorities said.