A San Diego-based division of Annapolis-based Compudyne Corp. agreed to pay more than $48,000 yesterday in federal court in Alexandria after pleading guilty to aiding a prominent Philippine businessman file a false U.S. tax return in 1983 that covered up what the government described as "in effect, a ... kickback" he received from the division in exchange for business.
Compudyne "regrets that the past actions of persons who are no longer employed by Compudyne had the indirect effect of aiding a third party in filing inaccurate income tax returns," said David R. Johnson, an attorney for the defense electronics company who is a member of the Washington law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
Compudyne said in a statement that it would not be suspended or debarred from government contracting because of internal controls that have been tightened to prevent a reccurence of the actions.
Johnson said the subsidiary, Ocean Applied Research Corp. (OAR), was not charged with aiding Raymond M. Moreno in a broader conspiracy to defraud the government's program to aid foreign military services. OAR cooperated in the government's inquiry, the Justice Department said.
The plea by OAR, a maker of radar equipment, grew out of a four-year-old grand jury investigation into fraud involving $28 million in contracts Moreno, 40, obtained in 1983 from the Philippine armed forces. The contracts, financed by the Pentagon foreign military sales program, were part of an effort to modernize the Philippine military communications system.
Moreno, an associate of former Philippine armed forces chief of staff Fabian Ver, pleaded guilty a year ago in Alexandria to receiving $3 million in kickbacks from Pentagon contracts given to his California-based firm, Amworld Inc. Moreno paid $1 million in fines in that case.
According to court papers filed by the Justice Department yesterday, OAR furnished Moreno with an invoice for $1.3 million in services supplied to Amworld during 1983 under the Philippine contract. OAR actually provided services worth half that amount; the rest of the money went to Moreno as "in effect, a 100 percent kickback" for hiring OAR as a subcontractor, according to a Justice Department statement.
The court papers said OAR "agreed to pay a 100 percent 'commission' totaling $658,093 to Moreno in the form of grossly inflated marketing service fees to a Hong Kong shell corporation, Geomanagement Ltd., owned and controlled by Moreno." To do that, the court papers said, OAR signed an agreement with Geomanagement to make payments to Moreno through its bank account, and provided Amworld with the inflated invoices.
The invoices were used by Moreno to list business expenses in Amworld's 1983 corporate income tax return, according to the Justice Department. Under OAR's agreement with prosecutors, the division paid $10,000 in criminal fines and $38,258 in a settlement of civil claims.
A government investigation of Amworld and other American subcontractors that dealt with Moreno is continuing.