Three former General Services Administration employes were charged yesterday with receiving nearly $100,000 in cash kickbacks and gifts over a three-year period from painting and repair contractors here.
In return for the payments, according to the charges filed by the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, the GSA employes helped the companies obtain contracts to perform work in federal buildings and falsely certified they had done work they never did.
The charges are the first to be filed against GSA employes in a continuing investigation of alleged corruption in the agency's repair and alternation program.
Six contracting companies have pleaded guilty to receiving $2.5 million from GSA over a three-year period for painting and maintenance work they never did and splitting most of the money with the GSA employes who ordered the work.
Yesterday's charges, announced by Assistant U.S. attorney William S. Block, who heads the investigation, were in the form of criminal informations, which prosecutors sometimes use instead of indictments when there is a likelihood the defendants will plead guilty and waive a trial.
James N. Henslee, 26, of Arlington, who worked for GSA's public buildings service in the Veternas Administration Building and other locations, was charged with receiving kickbacks of $50,000 to $75,0009
Elmer A. Van Pelt, 60, of Mechanicsville, Md., who worked for the public buildings service at CIA headquarters in Langley, was charged with receiving kickbacks of more than $35,000.
Robert M. Bryant, 31, of Suitland, was charged with receiving kickbacks of $5,000 when he worked for the public buildings service in GSA's Rock Creek field office.
Bryant and van Pelt were charged with conspiracy to defraud the government, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Henslee was charged with filing false or fictitious claims as well as defrauding the government. If convicted, he could receive a jail sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $20,000.
In addition to the Washington investigation, the U.S attorney's office in Baltimore has been investigating GSA awards to provide government workers with office supplies. So far, 32 individuals have been indicted in that investgation, and 19 have pleaded guilty.