Md. man to plead guilty in military fraud case

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A former Air National Guard contractor, 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 Thursday.

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

According to prosecutors, Mr. St. Clair conspired with Col. Gerard Mangis, 59, of Shaler, who was comptroller of the 171st Air Refueling Wing at Pittsburgh International Airport. Col. Mangis was indicted on 110 counts of conspiracy, honest service wire fraud, false claims 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, including a three-year bankruptcy case that ended in 2005, threatened his security clearance, and therefore his job.

Mr. St. Clair's 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. Prosecutors accused Col. Mangis of causing the falsification of Mr. St. Clair's fitness examinations and 633 duty rosters.

Mr. St. Clair in turn allowed Col. Mangis to receive double pay for a day's work, and to be paid for days on which he did no work, prosecutors said.

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

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

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

U.S. Attorney David Hickton said Wednesday that the probe, which started in 2010, could lead to charges against others.


Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or on Twitter @richelord.

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