May 2, 2010 in Business

More Hanford fraud alleged

Indictment accuses five people of phony expenses
By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Five more people have been accused of criminal fraud in connection with phony expenses submitted to Hanford contractors in the Tri-Cities.

In a recent indictment filed in Spokane’s U.S. District Court, Gregory Detloff and Martin Perez have been charged with fabricating orders for materials or supplies paid for by Fluor Hanford and CH2M Hill Hanford, where Detloff formerly worked in the Tri-Cities.

The charges say that between 2001 and 2005, Detloff used a corporate credit card to pay for items ordered from a Tri-Cities company where Perez worked. Perez allegedly got a commission for making purchases of other items through Detloff Industries, an at-home supply business run by Detloff’s wife, Becky Detloff.

The indictment did not list the total amount of fraudulent purchases Detloff and Perez allegedly made, but a summary sheet among court papers lists more than $40,000 in alleged credit card payments.

In a second indictment, federal prosecutors filed wire fraud charges against Suzie Zuniga, who held a job similar to Detloff’s while working for Fluor Hanford.

The same indictment includes charges against Tommy L. Honeycutt Jr., a former pipe fitter for a Hanford company; and Pedro Alvarado Jr., a former driver.

The indictment said that between 2004 and 2008, Zuniga used a company card issued to her by Fluor Hanford to authorize purchases that totaled almost $560,000.

It alleges Zuniga, Honeycutt and Alvarado prepared phony invoices for purchases of supplies or materials from a number of vendors approved for Hanford’s Plutonium Finishing Plant.

Last month, federal prosecutors filed fraud charges against Tri-Cities residents Paul F. Kempf and his wife, Anita M. Gust, alleging the couple bilked two Hanford contractors out of roughly $500,000 through unauthorized purchases. The charges allege Kempf, a former manager at Fluor Hanford and then at CH2M Hill Hanford, and Gust used phony product orders to obtain personal items or cover personal expenses from 2001 to 2005.

Attempts to reach the attorney representing Kempf and his wife were unsuccessful. The five recent defendants will not have attorneys until after their arraignments, due during the next two weeks.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rice, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s Spokane office, said additional indictments related to the investigation could be filed.

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