Ford City firm's VP to plead guilty to defrauding military

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The vice president of an Armstrong County environmental company that tore down a South Carolina building for the U.S. Navy is set to plead guilty this week to charges that he and the company president lied to secure the contract under a federal minority set-aside program and defrauded the military.

Barry Kent Peterson, who ran Fullard Environmental Controls in Ford City with president Michael Fullard, is scheduled to enter a plea to wire fraud on Thursday in U.S. District Court here.

Mr. Fullard, who pleaded guilty in 2012, cooperated with federal investigators and is awaiting sentencing, scheduled for Friday.

He asked the court Monday for permission to file documents under seal pertaining to his cooperation in the hopes of gaining a lenient sentence.

Mr. Fullard, who is black, started the company in 2000 as an asbestos and lead paint removal firm and had been awarded many minority contracts over the years, including work at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and the city school district.

In the South Carolina case, the Navy offered $2.2 million for the partial demolition of a Marine Corps air station.

Mr. Fullard and Mr. Peterson bid on the project through a Small Business Administration minority set-aside program and told the Navy that their company would do the bulk of the work. Instead, Fullard Environmental hired a New Jersey subcontractor, Yannuzzi and Sons, for $800,000.

The Navy agreed to pay Fullard the $2.2 million based on the company’s estimates, and the building was demolished in January 2008.

Agents said Mr. Fullard and Mr. Peterson told the Navy that their profit would be $184,000 when they knew it would be much more. After the building was demolished, Fullard Environmental submitted invoices for payment by the Navy, which paid the $2.2 million in installments.

Mr. Fullard was charged in June 2012, waived indictment and pleaded a month later. As part of his plea, he was ordered to forfeit $772,000, his share of the illegal proceeds.

Mr. Peterson was charged in October and has spent the last several months negotiating with the U.S. attorney’s office.

Torsten Ove: or 412-263-1510. First Published August 4, 2014 12:00 AM

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