Brothers Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding U.S. Department of Defense
PITTSBURGH – Thomas G. Buckner, 66, of Gibsonia, Pa., and his brother, John. P. Buckner of Lyndora, Pa., have been sentenced in federal court to 30 months incarceration and a $500,000 fine, and 24 months incarceration and a $300,000 fine, respectively, on charges of major fraud against the U.S. Department of Defense and income tax evasion violations, United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced today.
According to the information presented to the court, the Buckner brothers were 50/50 owners of Ibis Tek, LLC. Ibis Tek’s main office was located at 912 Pittsburgh Street, in Butler, Pennsylvania, and it had an office at Ibis Tek Victory Road facility, 220 South Noah Drive, in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania. Ibis Tek manufactured both military and commercial products but specialized in the development of transparent armor and accessory products for tactical and military combat vehicles. Ibis Tek itself was not charged with any violations.
TACOM, located in Warren, Michigan, was responsible for letting and overseeing contracts on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense, including contracts concerning High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (Humvees). Ibis Tek had a subcontract to produce Vehicle Emergency Escape Window (VEE Window) Kits for Humvees. The Buckners inflated Ibis Tek’s costs to manufacture the VEE Window kits by creating Alloy America, LLC, (Alloy) a company that was co-located at Ibis Tek that the Buckners controlled, by using Alloy to purchase the frames in China for $20 per frame, and by using false invoices from Alloy to make it appear that Ibis Tek paid $70 per frame. In addition, the Buckners sold scrap aluminum collected in the manufacturing process but failed to credit that money to TACOM. The losses to TACOM were $6,085,709.
The income tax evasion charges against the Buckner brothers arose from not reporting the cash from sales of scrap aluminum, and for taking unallowable business deductions described below. Thomas Buckner repaid the I.R.S. more than $940,000 in restitution, penalties and interest; John Buckner repaid more than $980,000 in restitution, penalties and interest.
The contract fraud violations described above formed the basis for False Claims Act charges against the Buckner brothers brought by the Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Attorneys on both sides agreed on a civil settlement of $12,171,580.00. On Friday, October 6, 2017, the Buckner brothers made the final payment to the Department of the Treasury on their civil settlement.
Acting U.S. Attorney Song said, “The imposition of years of imprisonment, coupled with more than $2.7 million in restitution and fines, justly resolves the multi-year investigation into the $6 million fraudulent scheme of these defendants against the United States.”
There were three related guilty pleas entered in this investigation and each of these defendants is awaiting sentencing.
Harry H. Kramer, 52, of Wexford, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud for his role as CFO of Ibis Tek in the above described scheme against TACOM. Counts Two and Three charged him with filing false returns for Ibis Tek for 2009 and 2010.
David S. Buckner, of Warren, Michigan, (no relation to Thomas or John Buckner) pleaded guilty to a one-count Information charging him with impeding the IRS by acting as a financial intermediary who received and then paid out money from Ibis Tek, LLC to Anthony Shaw, for the purpose of concealing that the monies were income of Shaw.
Anthony A. Shaw, 55, of Rochester Hills, Michigan, pleaded guilty to a five-count Information. Shaw, formerly a civilian employee at TACOM, was a Deputy Project Manager responsible for directing development of and managing government contracts for combat vehicle systems such as Humvees. Shaw was charged in Counts One and Two with demanding and receiving a total of $1,055,500 of illegal gratuities paid by checks, cash and wire transfers by Thomas Buckner to and through David Buckner’s company, D & B Cycle Parts and Accessories, for Shaw’s benefit. Counts Three and Four charged Shaw with income tax evasion for 2009 and 2010 for not reporting the illegal gratuities. In Count Five Shaw was charged with making false statements when he denied that he had socialized with Thomas Buckner and John Buckner, and denied that he had traveled in a car, boat and an airplane owned by Thomas Buckner or John Buckner.
These cases were investigated by the Special Agents of the Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division.
"IRS-Criminal Investigation provides financial investigation expertise in our work with our law enforcement partners," said IRS Acting Special Agent in Charge Ed Wirth. "Pooling the skills of each agency makes a formidable team as we investigate allegations of wrong-doing. Today's sentences demonstrate our collective efforts to enforce the law and ensure public trust."
Assistant United States Attorney Nelson P. Cohen prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song commended the Special Agents of the Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of these defendants.