- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 7, 2006

The owner of a Pennsylvania contracting firm and three employees have been indicted on charges of overbilling for Pentagon renovations following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Prosecutors identified the company Friday as Capco Contracting Inc. of McKeesport, Pa., and said the four persons, including a Gaithersburg resident, were part of a complex fraud scheme that cost taxpayers and contractors more than $1 million.

“Most [Pentagon contractors] took the project to heart,” said Edward Bradley, special agent in charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, one of six federal agencies involved in the case. “Unfortunately, as the indictment demonstrates, some saw this as just another opportunity to defraud the government and line their pockets.”

The 39-count indictment by the federal grand jury includes counts of mail fraud, major fraud and conspiracy against company owner Thomas J. Cousar, 52, of Monroeville, Pa.; Joseph Arena Jr., 55, of Gaithersburg; Catherine L. Bradica, 53, of Irwin, Pa.; and Daniel D. Monte, 60, of Clifton, Va.

It was not immediately clear whether the four defendants had attorneys and no listed phone numbers could be found for them. A message left at Capco’s office had not been returned as of yesterday.

Prosecutors said fraudulent invoices that were submitted overbilled for labor hours and the costs of materials on various painting, framing, drywall and steel work for which Capco was paid.

Other Capco employees are accused of diverting construction materials from the Pentagon site and using them in other company projects, including the construction of the Dick Corp. office in Tysons Corner.

“At the Pentagon, Capco employees would just drive into the Pentagon work site with flatbed trucks and take equipment and materials,” U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said.

Dick Corp., which is based in Large, Pa., was unaware that some of the materials being used on the project were taken from the Pentagon, Mrs. Buchanan also said.

In one section of the 53-page indictment, Mr. Cousar and Ms. Bradica are charged with fabricating a payroll register for work by an unnamed Capco employee who transported a Dick vice president’s boat from Maryland to Florida. Instead of paying the employee out of Capco’s own accounts, the employee’s work was billed to the Pentagon project, the indictment alleges.

Mrs. Buchanan said the Dick vice president knew the Capco employee was moving the boat, but didn’t know that it was being billed to the Pentagon project.

The defendants were also charged for overbilling for work from 1999 to 2001 on PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Peterson Events Center, the University of Pittsburgh’s basketball arena. However, Mrs. Buchanan said the overbilling did not cost taxpayers because the contracts were for fixed prices, so only the lead contractors that hired Capco to do the subcontracting work lost money.

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