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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A federal judge sentenced a Navy contractor to 41 months in prison and $1.35 million in fines March 4 for major fraud, after the contractor sold falsely certified metal built into Virginia-class submarines and a new aircraft carrier.

James Bullick, 42, of Fairless Hills, Pa., sold piston tailrods and other parts that had not been heat-treated, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Bullick was the president of Bristol Alloys, Inc., which was concurrently sentenced to five years’ probation and ordered to pay a $400 special assessment.

U.S. District Court Judge Mitchell Goldberg also ordered Bullick to pay a $100 special assessment and serve a three-year term of supervised release. Both Bullick and the company pleaded guilty in October.

“Rather than comply with the heat treating requirements … Bullick instead created numerous fraudulent heating test certifications,” according to court documents presented by U.S. attorney Zane Memeger at a Sept. 7 hearing.

Searching for and fixing the parts on submarines and the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, which is in production, cost the Navy at least $1.3 million, according to a Navy statement provided to the New London (Conn.) Day newspaper in October.

“The fraud perpetrated by Bristol Alloys, Inc. and Mr. Bullick was both calculated and widespread,” according to the Navy’s statement. “Implications from Bristol Alloys, Inc. and Mr. Bullick’s scheme to defraud the government have the potential to take years to fully investigate, inspect and adjudicate.”

In 2003 and 2008, contractors Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman won contracts calling for 14 new fast-attack, nuclear-powered submarines at a combined price tag of more than $22 billion.

Northrup Grumman then awarded purchase orders to Garvey Precision Machine, of Wilmingboro, N.J., for submarine hull components.

Garvey then subcontracted to Bristol Alloys between 2004 and 2009, with the requirement that parts include heat treatment certifications. The treatments never occurred, according to prosecutors.

The fraud came to light after Electric Boat found problems with the certifications and asked Garvey to re-evaluate the parts, according to The Day.

The parts carried a designation of Level 1, which means that “such parts were critical to the integrity of the Navy submarines in which the parts were to be installed,” according to court documents.

slavine@pstripes.osd.mil

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