Former Morton Thiokol Purchaser Pleads Innocent To 27 Federal Counts
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ A former purchaser for Morton Thiokol Inc. charged with taking kickbacks from the government aerospace contractor suppliers pleaded innocent Monday to 27 counts of fraud and tax evasion.
U.S. Magistrate Ronald Boyce ordered that John E. Ward remain free on a $15,000 signature bond with a $1,500 deposit pending further proceedings. No trial date was set.
Ward and eight defense subcontractors were charged Friday with taking kickbacks from suppliers and earning illegal profits by routing materials through three companies Ward created and operated from his basement, said U.S. Attorney Brent Ward. The Wards are not related.
The three-year scheme involved routine supply materials, including paper towels and strapping material, used during the manufacture and development of space shuttle booster rockets, Navy Trident missiles and the Air Force’s new Small Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, nicknamed the ″Midgetman.″
On Friday, two other defendants, Helmut and Allison Reinicke of Salt Lake City, also pleaded innocent. Allison Reinicke was charged with nine counts of aiding in a kickback scheme and Helmut Reinicke was charged with seven counts of the same offense.
The prosecutor said that after John Ward left Thiokol in 1986, the scheme continued using sales to Thiokol through companies he had formed. He joined the company in 1979 as a buyer.
Earlier, Morton Thiokol attorney Darryl Lee said John Ward’s resignation apparently was not linked to the investigation. Thiokol officials said they were conducting their own inquiry and had suspended all new contractual activity with individuals and companies named as defendants.