PITTSBURGH -- Two brothers who own a military-supply business, a civilian Army employee and two others have been charged with a $6 million scheme to overcharge the Defense Department for Humvee window frames, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Thomas Buckner, 65, of Gibsonia, Pa., and John Buckner, 67, of Lyndora, Pa., scammed the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command out of the money with the help of a shell company and kickbacks, according to court documents filed Friday by federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh.
The Army agency, also known as TACOM, is based in Warren, Mich. A civilian employee there, Anthony Shaw, is accused of accepting more than $1 million for helping the scheme, prosecutors said.
The defense attorneys for the five defendants didn't immediately return calls and emails seeking comment.
Prosecutors filed the charges in criminal informations, documents that are typically used when defendants have agreed to plead guilty to the charges.
The scheme worked this way, according to prosecutors' court filing: The Buckners co-own Ibis Tek, a Butler company that had contracts to supply aluminum window frames for Humvees.
The brothers created another company called Alloy America that was supposed to be manufacturing the window frames that Ibis Tek would then sell to TACOM. But instead of doing that, the Buckners had Alloy American purchase the frames for $20 each from a Chinese firm, then created records to make it appear Ibis Tek paid Alloy America $70 for each frame.
Ibis Tek then passed on the $70-per-frame cost to TACOM. The Buckner brothers also sold scrap aluminum relating to the manufacture of the frames but kept the money. The Buckners and Ibis Tek were supposed to credit the scrap revenue to TACOM as a way of helping the government agency control costs.
The payments to Shaw were funneled through a Michigan motorcycle business, D & B Cycle Parts and Accessories. That business is owned by David Buckner, of Warren, Michigan, who is not related to the Pennsylvania brothers.
Ibis Tek's chief financial officer, Harry Kramer, 55, of Wexford, helped the Buckner brothers carry out the scheme and then filed false tax returns that understated Ibis Tek's income in 2009 and 2010.
It was not immediately clear if Ibis Tek remains a government contractor. Nobody returned a call to the company Friday.
If convicted of major fraud against the government and income tax evasion, the Buckner brothers each face up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $1.5 million, while Kramer faces up to 16 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.
Shaw, 55, of Rochester Hills, Mich., faces up to 19 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine if convicted of receiving a gratuity as a public official, tax evasion and making false statements.
David Buckner faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of corrupt or forcible interference with the Internal Revenue Service investigation for allegedly funneling the payments from the brothers to Shaw, his friend.