TWO RETIRED AIR FORCE LIGHT COLS CAUGHT
UP IN CONTRACTOR FRAUD - RICHARD SCHALLER
CONVICTED OF DESTROYING RECORDS/LYING TO
GRAND JURY IN CONNECTION WITH DEFENSE
CONTRACTS RELATED TO MILITARY RESEARCH
LAB AT EGLIN AFB FLORIDA - MARK O'HAIR HAD
PREVIOUSLY PLED GUILTY TO "MAKING FALSE
STATEMENTS" IN REGARD TO MULTI-MILLION
DOLLAR DEAL - SCHALLER TO BE SENTENCED
IN FEDERAL COURT PENSACOLA OCTOBER 13
It's the proverbial "revolving door." Military officers retire and then show up for work the next day as government contractors. And the taxpayer is the loser in the deal, when the ex-field grades turn out to be crooks and liars.
Two retired Air Force lieutenant colonels have been caught up in the latest military scandal to hit the Florida Panhandle. Former 0-5 Richard Schaller admitted he helped another light colonel - Mike O'Hair - who worked at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Eglin AFB - "steer contracts" to a company owned by Schaller, court papers show.
The sweetheart deal was disclosed after O'Hair flew on a private plane, provided by his pal Schaller, to a Pennsylvania-based defense contractor run by big-time political contributor Richard Ianieri.
It turns out that Ianieri, CEO of Coherent Systems Int. Corp., which got a $8.5 million "earmark" to build battlefield communications systems, thanks to the influence of corpulent Congressman John Murtha, had contributed more than $95,000 to the controversial Democrat's campaign coffers since 2002.
SPREADING THE "PORK" AROUND TO SUB-CONTRACTORS
O'Hair and Schaller came into the picture, investigators say, when Coherent spread the "moola" around to four sub-contractors, including Schaller's company.
The most important man in the deal was O'Hair at the research lab, since he had the authority to give Air Force blessing to the "big bucks" project.
The retired colonel no longer works at Eglin and has legal troubles of his own. In a separate trial, O'Hair pled guilty to making false statements and engaging in a "conflict of interest."
But it is Schaffer who is "sweating out" what the Feds could do to him. His lawyers don't know how much prison time the ex-Air Force officer could face. But they do know their client will get "the bad news," whatever it is, when he's sentenced in federal court in Pensacola come October 13.