Maryland man charged in theft from Air National Guard to plead guilty

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Former Air National Guard employee Robert St. Clair, charged with involvement in crimes that prosecutors said may have cost the government $300,000, has agreed to plead guilty at a hearing set for April 14, according to court filings today.

The hearing date was set by U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab, in a notice indicating that the prosecution and defense have entered into a plea agreement.

Mr.. St. Clair, 50, of Bel Air, Md., was charged Wednesday with 10 counts of conspiracy, false claims and theft of government property.

The scheme outlined by prosecutors on Wednesday involved Mr. St. Clair and Air National Guard Col. Gerard Mangis, 59, of Shaler, who was a technician and later comptroller of the the 171st Air Refueling Wing, located at Pittsburgh International Airport. Col. Mangis was indicted on 110 counts of conspiracy, honest service wire fraud, false claims against the United States and theft of government property.

Mr. St. Clair was a National Guard Bureau civilian financial analyst at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, in charge of parceling out paid "workdays," according to prosecutors.

Financial problems threatened his security clearance, and therefore his job. His friend Col. Mangis gave him a paid, no-show reservist post at the 171st, and concealed it from others in the Guard, according to the charges.

Mr. St. Clair then gave Col. Mangis "workdays," allowing him to receive double pay for the same day, and to be paid for days on which he did no work, according to prosecutors.

According to the indictment of Col. Mangis, 633 duty rosters then were falsified on behalf of Mr. St. Clair, and he was given "false passing scores" on his physical fitness examinations, all at the colonel's direction.

U.S. Attorney David Hickton said Wednesday that the investigation, which started in 2010, is ongoing and could involve charges against others.

Mr. St. Clair's attorney, Tina Miller, declined comment late Wednesday.

Mr. St. Clair has no current connection with the 171st, and had resigned from his civilian job, according to prosecutors.

Col. Mangis is in inactive status with the Air National Guard, and resigned from a job as a fiscal/purchasing manager for Allegheny County following the January publication of a story about the investigation by the Post-Gazette.

Rich Lord: or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

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