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Brothers in scam sentenced

on December 18, 2013 10:40 AM

JOHNSTOWN (AP) — Two brothers who owned a high-tech defense contracting firm and paid kickbacks and conspired to avoid paying income taxes were sentenced Tuesday to fines and house arrest.

William Kuchera and Ronald Kuchera were sentenced to five years of probation, 18 months of house arrest and 1,000 hours of community service each plus millions of dollars in restitution and fines.

The brothers, in their 50s, pleaded guilty to multiple charges in April. Prosecutors said their company billed the military $650,000 for parts that were never delivered and paid kickbacks to another contractor.

Kuchera Defense Systems Inc. and Kuchera Industries Inc., of Windber, just south of Johnstown, had been championed by the late U.S. Rep John Murtha and grew to become major employers in the area.

TV station WJAC reported that dozens of people packed the federal courtroom in downtown Johnstown, many of them there to show their support for the brothers.

In the months leading up to the sentencing, the Kuchera brothers staged a letter-writing campaign to former employees, asking them to write to federal officials to seek leniency for them.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, the brothers could have faced 2 1/2 years to just over three years in federal prison. But U.S. District Judge Kim Gibson took into account the restitution that has been paid, family concerns and community service.

Defense attorneys said the brothers have already paid the government $4.6 million in criminal and civil penalties.

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