Brothers championed by Murtha guilty of fraud against U.S.
JOHNSTOWN — Two brothers who co-owned a Western Pennsylvania high-tech Defense contracting firm championed by the late U.S. Rep John Murtha pleaded guilty to major fraud against the federal government and conspiring to avoid paying income taxes.
William Kuchera, 58, and Ronald Kuchera, 51, each face 30 to 37 months in federal prison when they're sentenced Oct. 7. Each will also wind up paying more than $1.5 million in fines, restitution and forfeitures stemming from the scheme involving Kuchera Defense Systems Inc. of Windber.
Their company was paid $650,000 to produce high-tech Defense components for an unmanned Humvee project meant to help ground troops coordinate air cover and eliminate friendly-fire casualties. Instead, the Kuchera brothers kept the money but produced nothing, while kicking back more than $200,000 to prime contractor Coherent Systems International Inc. Coherent's founder, Richard Ianieri, is serving five years' probation for the scheme involving an $8.2 million contract obtained by a Murtha earmark.
Murtha died of complications from gallbladder surgery in February 2010, 15 days before Ianieri pleaded guilty, was sentenced and agreed to cooperate in the Kuchera investigation.
Federal prosecutors in Florida said Ianieri got the earmarked contract after hiring a lobbying firm that employed Murtha's brother. FedSpending.org, a website that tracks government money, reported that Kuchera Defense Systems and Coherent had been awarded more than $50 million apiece in Defense work since 2000.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.