Murtha-Linked Firm Charged

Pa. Defense Contractor Might Be Cooperating With Feds

Posted July 7, 2009 at 6:29pm

The Justice Department this week filed criminal charges against a defense contractor who has received millions of dollars worth of earmarks from Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), bringing together two parallel cases that are swirling around a host of firms with ties to the Congressman.

Late Monday, Mary Beth Buchanan, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, filed a criminal information against Richard Ianieri, the former head of Coherent Systems International, a defense contractor with several Pennsylvania facilities that Murtha has provided with millions of dollars in earmarks. Ianieri sold the Maryland-based firm in 2007.

A criminal information is usually filed in advance of a guilty plea by the defendant, suggesting that Ianieri may have agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department in a broader investigation. Ianieri’s lawyer declined to comment for this article.

The charges against Ianieri stirred suspicion that the government is targeting firms close to Murtha as part of an investigation of the lawmaker himself, but the Justice Department has never confirmed it is interested in Murtha.

Murtha spokesman Matt Mazonkey said Tuesday that his office was unaware of the charges against Ianieri, “and since we are not involved

with or following the case we have nothing to comment on.—

The charging documents allege that for an unknown period of time ending around January 2006, Ianieri solicited and received $200,000 worth of kickbacks from a subcontractor identified only as “K.—