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Feds end probe of Murtha-connected Johnstown defense contractor

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By The Associated Press
Friday, June 6, 2014, 2:30 p.m.
 

Western Pennsylvania's top federal prosecutor has closed an investigation without filing criminal charges against a defense contractor with longstanding ties to the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha.

U.S. Attorney David Hickton announced on Friday in a one-paragraph statement that Concurrent Technologies Corp. fully cooperated with investigators.

Hickton announced the inquiry into the company in September after federal agents raided Concurrent's Johnstown offices. At the time, Hickton confirmed an investigation but declined to comment on the nature of it.

Concurrent, also known as CTC, has received hundreds of millions dollars worth of defense contracts since it was founded as Metalworking Technology Inc. in 1987.

The company's president and CEO, Edward Sheehan Jr., said the firm cooperated with the probe by producing “substantial records for review.”

“We are extremely pleased with the government's decision and appreciate that this matter has been brought to a close,” Sheehan said. “CTC has always been and will continue to be a federally compliant contractor.”

Murtha, who died in 2010 after decades representing a Johnstown-area district, chaired a powerful House subcommittee that oversaw the Pentagon's budget. Several federal investigations have targeted defense companies that received multimillion-dollar contracts during his tenure, lobbying related to those contracts and donations made to Murtha and other congressional candidates.

Concurrent focuses on defense issues but also does environmental, engineering, energy and other research. One such project included working with the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia on ways to produce cheaper pennies.

Last month, the company was awarded a $15.3 million contract to develop technology for a Navy minesweeping helicopter.

A Washington watchdog group, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, sued the Justice Department seeking information on a variety of investigations into Murtha and defense firms linked to him, including CTC. A representative for the group would not comment on Hickton's decision.

The group also sought details on brothers William and Ronald Kuchera. In December, they were fined and given 18 months house arrest as part of five-year probation sentences for a kickback scheme involving an $8.2 million contract obtained by a Murtha earmark for their company, Kuchera Defense Systems Inc. of Windber.

Concurrent and its principals have never been charged criminally. The Justice Department subpoenaed the company's records in 2008 and prosecuted Paul Magliocchetti, a lobbyist who helped it and other Murtha-linked businesses get federal contracts.

Magliocchetti was sentenced in 2011 in Virginia to 27 months in federal prison for illegally funneling more than $380,000 in campaign contributions to Murtha and other members of Congress who controlled the Pentagon's budget. Defense contractors hired his firm to influence Murtha and other key lawmakers who earmarked money for favored companies.

Magliocchetti acknowledged having relatives, friends and lobbyists write personal checks to support congressional candidates to obscure his influence before reimbursing the donors.

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