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Seven plead guilty to corruption at Navy aircraft repair facility

March 28, 2012 |  4:59 pm

Hawkeye
Four civilian employees of the U.S. Navy and three defense contractors have pleaded guilty in what U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy calls a "wide-ranging fraud and corruption scheme" at an aircraft repair facility at North Island Naval Air Station on Coronado.

The Navy employees received more than $1 million in cash and gifts in exchange for approving padded bills from the contractors, prosecutors said. In all, the Department of Defense paid more than $5.5 million in connection with the fraudulent invoices, according to court documents.

The Navy employees received cash, checks, retail gift cards, flat-screen television sets, furniture, home appliances, bicycles, model airplanes, home remodeling services and luxury massage chairs.

Pleading guilty were Navy employees Donald Vangundy, 54, of Chula Vista; Kiet Luc, 53, of San Diego; Brian Delaney, 55, of La Mesa; and David Lindsay, 57 of San Diego. Also pleading guilty were contractors John Newman, 51, of Poway; Michael Graven, 43, of Carlsbad; and Paul Grubiss, 39, of Wickliffe, Ohio.

The Navy employees were at the Fleet Readiness Center at North Island, with responsibility for securing parts and tools for the E-2 Hawkeye and the C-2 Greyhound. The Hawkeye is a tactical airborne early warning aircraft; the Greyhound is a derivative of the Hawkeye.

The seven are set for sentencing July 2 in San Diego federal court.

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--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: An E-2C Hawkeye lands aboard the carrier Abraham Lincoln in the North Arabian Sea. Credit: Navy Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Brian Morales

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