FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
JULY 24, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SALESMAN SENTENCED IN BRIBERY AND PROCUREMENT FRAUD SCHEME
AT ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND
Inflated Prices and Falsely Described on Army Invoices Merchandise Worth Over $288,000
BALTIMORE, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Wayne Silbersack, age 65, of Forest Hill, Maryland today to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release for bribery in relation to a scheme to defraud the government, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Quarles also ordered that Silbersack pay restitution of $294,525.99.
United States Attorney Rod Rosentein said, "It is disgraceful that a company salesman conspired with government employees to engage in this scheme to defraud the taxpayers and line their own pockets."
According to the statement of facts presented at his guilty plea, from 2003 to 2004 Douglas Atwell, age 52, of Port Deposit, Maryland, and Gerard Yursis, age 46, of Parkton, Maryland, both civilian employees of the U.S. Army at the Aberdeen Test Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, placed orders from Silbersack, a commissioned salesman for Lawson Products, for equipment totaling over $429,500 which were paid by the Army. Silbersack issued Lawson invoices to the Army which inflated the prices of, and falsely described, the items ordered by Atwell and Yursis in order to conceal the use of government funds to obtain items for their personal use. Atwell, who managed a “tool crib” at one of the Aberdeen Test Center buildings, charged the purchases to his government purchase card. Gerard Yursis was a test director for the Aberdeen Test Center, who supervised tests of equipment and managed a budget which was supposed to cover all the costs of labor and materials for the tests. Atwell frequently charged the orders to budgets supervised by Yursis because Atwell knew Yursis was personally receiving equipment from Silbersack which was charged to the Army.
In exchange for processing invoices with inflated prices, Atwell received a Dell computer falsely described in an invoice as “electrical assortment parts LP 5002" which included a mark up from $1,973 to $2,485; a shed disguised on invoices as a “large hardware assortment” which was marked up from $2,840 to $6,521; and golf balls falsely described as a “ball bearing assortment” which were marked up from $682.50 to $1,409.
Yursis ordered the following items from Silbersack, all of which were charged to Atwell’s government purchase card and paid for by the Army: an 8000 watt generator, a shed constructed at Yursis home address, a jointer/planer, a bush-hog to fit Yursis’ tractor, Clopay garage doors (installed), and an air compressor. Sometimes Yursis picked up equipment from Silbersack’s house; however, some of the equipment was so large that it could not conveniently be delivered to Silbersack’s house. Silbersack had the bush hog and air compressor put on his own trailer, and he delivered them to Yursis.
Silbersack received over $78,000 in commissions for sales to Atwell’s government credit card. Over $288,000 worth of merchandise was delivered to Wayne Silbersack’s house or picked up outside the base that cannot now be located at the Aberdeen site or otherwise accounted for.
Atwell and Yursis pleaded guilty to the same charge and face a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for bribery. Atwell is scheduled to be sentenced on August 30, 2007. A sentencing date for Yursis has not yet been scheduled.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joyce McDonald and Harry Gruber, who are prosecuting the case.