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Feds seeking $900K from Somerset contractor that received earmarks from Murtha

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By Adam Brandolph
Monday, March 25, 2013, 4:03 p.m.

Federal prosecutors are seeking $900,000 from a Somerset County defense contractor that received earmarks from the late Rep. John Murtha.

U.S. Attorney David Hickton on Monday filed a civil complaint against Windber-based Kuchera Defense Systems Inc. and its owners, brothers Bill and Ronald Kuchera, claiming they illegally obtained the money through wire fraud.

The brothers, the complaint says, “knowingly and with intent to defraud,” obtained contracts with the government worth more than $1 million. Hickton said the company inflated billing rates and billed the government for items never produced.

In 2010, the government twice suspended Kuchera Defense Systems from entering into contracts for offering kickbacks to obtain favorable treatment in awarding a subcontractor.

Before his death in February 2010, Murtha, a Johnstown Democrat, steered more than $50 million in earmarks to several companies owned by the Kucheras, whose employees donated money to Murtha's campaigns. Murtha denied links between the campaign donations and the spending earmarks.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927.

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