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Pa. man will go to prison for fraud on Navy contract

PITTSBURGH — An Armstrong County man said Friday that he was so amazed by the level of work a partner was bringing into the company that he failed to ask the “tough questions” about their surge in revenue.

“I'm the president of the company, and I didn't ask the questions I should have asked,” said Michael Fullard, 54, of Apollo.

He apologized to his friends and family for embarrassing them and said he's done everything he could to help the government recover its losses from their fraud.

Fullard pleaded guilty in July 2012 to two counts of wire fraud. He and Barry Kent Peterson, 46, lied to the Navy to get a $2.2 million contract to demolish a building at the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, S.C., prosecutors say.

While saying that his company, Fullard Environmental Controls of Ford City, would do most of the work, they actually hired another company to do the demolition for about $800,000, prosecutors say. They told the Navy their profit on the job was $185,000, prosecutors say.

Two of his former employees testified Friday that Peterson kept the details of the fraud from Fullard. Peterson pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of wire fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 17.

Fullard, who is black, got the contract under a government program that allows the awarding of no-bid contracts to minority-owned businesses.

U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry said Fullard's abuse of that program and the amount of taxpayer money stolen by the fraud warranted a prison sentence despite a sealed motion from the government recommending clemency.

He sentenced Fullard to eight months in prison, another eight months on home confinement and 18 months on probation. He also ordered Fullard to pay, along with Peterson, about $772,700 to the government for his crimes.
 

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