(The Center Square) – A Missouri contractor with the U.S. Department of Defense pleaded guilty to fraud for illegally obtaining parts from overseas to fulfill military contracts.
David Murar of St. Charles County waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Missouri. Murar, 73, fraudulently obtained contracts worth at least $333,465 for nuts, bolts, washers, sleeves and tools.
“Some of the parts that Murar’s companies supplied were designated as ‘critical,’ meaning they are essential to weapon system performance or the preservation of life or safety of personnel,” U.S. Attorney Sayler A. Fleming said in a statement. “Murar and his companies have already been suspended from government contracting and he has now pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge. This case should serve as a stern warning to those whose actions could endanger members of the armed forces or who supply confidential data on military equipment to overseas entities.”
Murar admitted to bidding on and receiving at least nine federal government contracts from April through October 2022. The plea stated he made fraudulent misrepresentations by not providing parts from domestic sources and instead provided parts from China and other foreign countries.
Murar’s actions enabled him to underbid domestic suppliers. He also broke federal law by providing restricted and protected “military critical technical data” and information to foreign individuals and entities.
Murar obtained parts from China, Hong Kong and other countries, according to the U.S. attorney. He included diagrams of necessary parts when sending requests for prices to suppliers in those countries. Before he sent the documentation, he removed distribution statements, destruction notices and export control and arms export warnings.
“Knowingly removing export control markings and illegally transmitting export-controlled military technology data overseas to produce substandard components for vital DOD contracts, while purporting the same to be made in America, puts U.S. warfighters at risk and undermines our national security,” Aaron Tambrini, special agent in charge of the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement in the Chicago Field Office, said in a statement.
Murar signed agreements he would prevent access to critical military technical data to anyone other than his employees or other eligible persons, according to the U.S. attorney. He also pledged to obey U.S. export control laws and regulations.
“Product substitution is a serious threat to Air Force assets, and negatively impacts aircraft safety and readiness,” William A. Rouse, special agent in charge of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, said in a statement.
Murar, who owned and operated his business, also admitted to illegally using his wife’s name to compete in a category for woman-owned small businesses.
Murar is scheduled to be sentenced May 7 and the fraud charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 or both prison and a fine.