07/29/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/29/2020 11:40
TRENTON, N.J. - Three people have been charged for their alleged roles in a years-long conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) by providing military equipment parts that were not authorized by contract, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.
Linda Mika, 69, and Paul Mika, 73, both of Jackson, New Jersey, and Kenneth Mika, 49, of Ewing, New Jersey, were arrested today and are scheduled to have their initial appearances this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois H. Goodman in Trenton federal court.
'As described in the criminal complaint, these defendants sought to make a greater profit by substituting products that were not those they had contractually agreed to provide to the Department of Defense,' U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. 'By doing so, they potentially risked the safety of our men and women in uniform. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to root out this kind of fraud.'
'Protecting the integrity of the defense procurement system is a top priority for the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS),' Special Agent in Charge Leigh-Alistair Barzey, DCIS Northeast Field Office, said. 'This case, which resulted in today's arrests, confirms the DCIS' ongoing commitment to work with the USAO-NJ and the FBI, to investigate and prosecute contractors who engage in fraudulent schemes targeting the U.S. Department of Defense.'
'Today's arrest of Linda Mika, Paul Mika and Kenneth Mika reflects the continuing impact federal and state partnerships have on combatting those who defraud the Department of Defense,' Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge Joe Denahan said. 'These contractors of Monmouth Marine Engines Inc. knowingly provided substituted parts for military equipment for their own personal gain. We will continue to investigate these types of schemes and hold those who endanger the U.S. military accountable.'
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From at least March 2017 through February 2020, the Mikas conspired with each other and others to defraud the DoD and its combat logistic support arm, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), by engaging in a pattern of unlawful product substitution. Paul Mika was the founder and owner of Monmouth Marine Engines Inc. (Monmouth Marine), a maritime equipment and servicing facility, which, as an approved federal contractor, also entered into contracts with DLA to supply DoD contracting entities with replacement parts for Naval vessels. Paul Mika's wife and son, Linda Mika and Kenneth Mika, were employees of Monmouth Marine.
The Mikas, on behalf of Monmouth Marine, obtained contracts with the DoD by falsely claiming that the military parts they contracted to provide would be exact products furnished by authorized manufacturers. Once awarded the contracts, however, the Mikas sourced non-conforming substitute parts at a significantly reduced cost to fill the contracts. They did this to maximize their profit margin while also suppressing fair competition in the bidding of federal contracts. Upon receipt by Monmouth Marine, the non-conforming parts were then shipped to DLA in packaging disguising the parts' identity in an effort by the Mikas to deceive DLA and its unwitting downstream purchasers.
The count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service Northeast Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Barzey; and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Denahan with the investigation leading to today's arrests.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric A. Boden of the U.S. Attorney=s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.