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Contractor admits selling defective parts to Pentagon
Question of the Day
A business owner who contracted with the Pentagon has pleaded guilty to charges he sold the military defective parts that grounded planes, and then sent sensitive information to India.
In a release Thursday, federal prosecutors said Robert Luba, 47, the owner of Allied Components LLC of New Jersey, sold the government defective Indian-made "wing-pins" that eventually grounded 47 Air Force F-15 fighters while military officials inspected and repaired the aircraft.
Then he sent information on a component of a nuclear-powered submarine to an associate in India, officials said.
"The conduct admitted by Luba shows a callous disregard for the safety of our armed forces," said U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. "By recklessly providing sub-standard parts for sophisticated weapons systems and sharing sensitive information with a foreign state, Luba not only jeopardized the lives of men and women on the front lines of our national defense, he put all Americans at risk, all in the name of making a buck."
Luba was supposed to supply the Defense Department with American-made parts, but instead imported parts made in India, court documents show. At one point, he also submitted false documentation saying the parts were made in the U.S.
Prosecutors say Luba had a contact in India to which he would often mail technical specifications for advice on how much to charge while bidding. It was during the course of these communications that he sent the information on a component for the nuclear submarine — a "torpedo tube, open breech door, gagging collar A" — court records said.
Luba, who pleaded guilty Wednesday, could face a maximum 25 years in prison and a $1.2 million fine when he is sentenced Feb. 19. He agreed to pay back the DOD $173,000, which includes the cost of repairs to the grounded F-15s.
Hannah Robert also has been indicted in the case. Ms. Robert owned a company called One Source USA, and was Luba's supplier of the "wing-pins" from India. Federal investigators said she also used a church website — without the church's knowledge — to transmit "the blueprints for hundreds of defense hardware items" to a partner in India.
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About the Author
Phillip Swarts is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times, covering fiscal waste, fraud and political ethics. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and previously worked as an investigative reporter for the Washington Guardian. Phillip can be reached at email@example.com.
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