CEO linked to Murtha pleads guilty to kickbacks

The Associated PressJuly 15, 2009 

— The former chief executive of a defense contractor with ties to Rep. John Murtha pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to a kickback scheme and defrauding the Air Force, and promised to cooperate in an ongoing criminal investigation.

Federal prosecutors said Richard S. Ianieri solicited kickbacks from a subcontractor in Pennsylvania while he headed Coherent Systems International Corp. Ianieri also was charged with filing false purchase orders related to an Air Force contract in Florida.

Ianieri pleaded guilty to both charges during a hearing in Pensacola and is scheduled to be sentenced in September. He could face up to 15 years in prison.

Murtha spokesman Matthew Mazonkey said it is not the congressman's job to oversee companies and that "if they broke the law, then they should be held accountable for their actions."

Murtha, D-Pa., has directed hundreds of millions of dollars in government contracts over the years to Coherent and other defense contractors.

Executives at Coherent and two other companies have donated over $95,000 to Murtha's re-election campaigns and his political action committee since 2002, according to federal records.

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