In Focus on Fraud, Issue No. 22, we reported on the conviction of a contractor for signing his own DD250 and submitting it for payment. On July 26, 2005, Michael Murphy, President, Primetech Corporation, Huntington Beach, CA was sentenced to 2 years in prison and ordered to pay $99,560 in restitution for violating Title 18 U.S.C. 287, False, Fictitious or Fraudulent Claims and 18 U.S.C. 1001, Statements or Entries Generally (False Statements). In case you didnt catch it earlier, here is the story behind the headlines:
It all started with a phone call two years ago from Lead Procurement Tech Pat Avina to Team A Supervisor, Tito Valenzuela. Pat had received a faxed DD250 from a new contractor named Primetech. This was nothing special under normal circumstances, except that this DD250 was not filled out properly. All DCMA QARs are aware that block 21a must include the QARs typed name, address and phone number, just in case DFAS needs to call the QAR directly. [continued below]....
..... The DD250 submitted by Primetech had a name signed in block 21a alright, Michael Murphy. The problem? Mr. Murphy was not a QAR; he was the President of Primetech!
Tito asked DCMA Santa Ana QAR Joe Oddo to look into this and find out who this contractor was and why they had signed the DD250 instead of an authorized Government representative. Joe did some homework prior to his surprise visit to Primetech. He determined that the contract called for 1,055 turbine vane arms for GE engines installed on the USAF C-5 Cargo aircraft. Failure of these parts could cause severe damage to the aircraft or possible loss of aircrew lives. The contract very explicitly required the contractor to purchase these very critical turbine vane arms only from the OEM, General Electric!
To make a long story short, the contractor lied to the PCO about where it had purchased the parts. Mr. Oddo learned that Primetech had supplied counterfeit parts bought from another contractor, not from GE as required. These very same parts had previously been submitted by that other contractor and promptly rejected by the USAF during a First Article inspection for the very same reason . . . they were not GE parts! To avoid rejection of the parts, Primetech had shipped the parts without the required Government source inspection. DCMA Santa Ana-Irvine quickly notified DCIS and the Defense Supply Center Richmond of the potential fraudulent activity and the parts were recalled from the field before they could be installed and cause any damage to aircraft.
DCMA Santa Ana QAS Joe Oddo and DCMA Santa Ana Lead Procurement Tech Patricia Avina were instrumental in bringing this case to a successful conclusion. DCMA Santa Ana QAS Sal Franco and Jim Wathen, members of the El Toro Task Force, provided technical support to the investigation. Congratulations and thanks (again) to DCIS Special Agent Craig Wyckoff and AFOSI Special Agent Joseph Cassidy and to Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas McConville and Richard Cutler for this successful prosecution! (Matsunaga, with thanks to Joe Oddo)