PITTSBURGH (AP) — A former civilian contractor who worked at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland is scheduled to plead guilty to helping the vice commander of a base near Pittsburgh receive extra pay in exchange for getting the civilian a no-show job at the Pennsylvania base.
Robert St. Clair, 50, of Bel Air, Md., is scheduled to waive indictment and plead guilty on April 14, according to an order issued Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab in Pittsburgh.
St. Clair was charged Wednesday along with retired Air National Guard Col. Gerard Mangis, 60, who resigned in September 2011 as vice commander of the 171st Air Refueling Wing based at Pittsburgh International Airport.
Federal prosecutors have said Mangis became friends with St. Clair when the Maryland man worked for the National Guard Bureau at Andrews AFB.
Sometime in 2002, St. Clair encountered unspecified financial problems and needed income to keep from losing his security clearance, which would have threatened his job in Maryland. That’s when Mangis agreed to fudge some paperwork to make St. Clair an enlisted technical sergeant at Mangis’ base — a no-show job for which St. Clair was paid and received various military benefits, without doing anything, U.S. Attorney David Hickton said.
In return, St. Clair finagled a way to pad Mangis’ pay, Hickton said.
St. Clair’s work as a financial analyst included allocating “workdays” — or eight-hour paid shifts — to Guard bases around the country. Those workdays were supposed to be assigned to base employees, so they could be paid for performing various duties. But Mangis, instead, used extra workdays assigned to him to collect pay over and above his $128,000 annual salary, Hickton said.
Mangis was freed on bond after his initial appearance before a federal magistrate in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. He’ll be arraigned on charges including conspiracy honest services fraud, false claims against the United States and theft of government property on March 13.
St. Clair has been charged in a criminal information with conspiracy, theft of government property, and false claims against the United States. The maximum prison term for the most serious charge St. Clair faces is 10 years in prison.
Normally, federal prosecutors must present probable cause to a federal magistrate to support the charges in a criminal information, which then gives the prosecutor 30 days to obtain a grand jury indictment. But St. Clair will waive indictment in April and immediately plead guilty, according to the scheduling order.
St. Clair has not returned phone messages to his home seeking comment. His attorney, Tina Miller, a former federal prosecutor in Pittsburgh, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)