A federal grand jury in Baltimore yesterday indicted three people for allegedly fencing goods stolen from General Services Administration office supply centers by the supply center managers.
The three, all of whom either own or work for camera stores or office supply companies, allegedly received cases of Polaroid film, batteries, camera timers, and other items from the GSA stores.
In return, according to the indictments, they gave the supply center managers cash, guns, cameras, or the like.
The managers of those GSA centers have previously been convicted of fraudulently certifying the receipt of office supplies they never received in return for kickbacks from office supply companies.
The indictments add a new twist to the continuing GSA scandal, which so far has produced 80 indictments and 66 convictions or guilty pleas. The previous charges have focused on payments for goods or services that never existed.
The new indictments, presented to the grand jury by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth H. Trimble, allege that some GSA managers actually stole government supplies as well as certifying the receipt of goods that never existed.
The GSA supply centers, known as "self-service stores," are located in most major federal buildings. They provide government workers with paper clips, paper, pencils, and similar items. Employes "charge" the items to the accounts of their own agencies through GSA credit cards presented at check-out counters.
Since the investigation of the office supply centers was begun in 1977 by the Baltimore U.S. Attorney's office, annual expenditures for the centers have gone down by $25 million. Daniel M. Clements, the Baltimore assistant U.S. attorney who started the investigations, has attributed the reduction to diminished fraud and improved management of the stores.
Those indicted yesterday were:
Kenneth C. Martin, 57, of Glen Burnie, the owner of Photocenter, a camera supply store in Baltimore. He is charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, bribery, and aiding and abetting in the theft of government property.
Philip J. Guadagna, 61, of Baltimore, the former owner of Center Camera Service Co. of Baltimore. He is charged with conspiracy to steal government property and aiding and abetting in its theft.
Evelyn Rassa, 29, of Baltimore, an employe of Matthew-Christopher Associates of Baltimore. She is charged with conspiracy to steal government property.
According to the indictments, Martin received cases of Polaroid film from Wilmont E. Peters, the manager of GSA supply center. In return, Martin allegedly gave Peters cameras, guns and cash.
The indictments say Guadagna received more than 40,000 batteries from Matthew Smith, a businessman who, in turn, obtained them from various GSA store managers. Smith has already pleaded guilty to other charges in the GSA scandal.