The United States Department of Justice Wednesday announced charges against two former enlisted Guardsman at the 171st Air Refueling Wing in Coraopolis.
U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton said Col. Gerard J. Mangis, 59, of Shaler Township is charged with 110 counts of conspiracy, honest service wire fraud, false claims and theft of government property. Mangis was formerly a Vice-Wing Commander at the refueling wing; he was relieved of his duties in 2011.
Robert St. Clair, 50, of Bel Air, Maryland is charged with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of false claims and one count of theft of government property. St. Clair was formerly a tech sergeant at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
Together, they are alleged to have stolen nearly $300,000 from the U.S. Air Force and the Air National Guard.
“With all that is going on in the world, with sequestration which we’ve just been through, it is particularly repugnant that someone would steal from the United States Air Force in a manner such as this,” Hickton said in a news conference.
The indictment charges that between 2002 and 2011, Mangis and St. Clair had a mutually beneficial arrangement that resulted in both men being paid for work they did not perform.
Mangis’s role as controller at the Refueling Wing allowed him to pay St. Clair for a contract job which he never performed. In exchange, St. Clair funneled military workdays to Mangis.
Hickton said authorities were tipped off when the Air Force did an audit of special training days and military workdays and found that Mangis had claimed to work more military workdays than was feasible given his civilian work schedule at the Refueling Wing.
“A person who is receiving civilian pay might be able to receive military pay for active or inactive military duties on days off, but you can’t get paid twice for doing the same thing,” Hickton explained.
Hickton said both men were experiencing personal financial problems at the time. He also said it appears that others might have been involved in the scheme.
“I can’t give you an estimate about the likelihood that others will be charged,” Hickton said. “I can tell you the investigation has widened, it’s active, and we believe that there’s more fraud present and when we have others to charge we will.”
Mangis was arrested at his home Wednesday morning and made an initial appearance before a federal magistrate Wednesday afternoon. He was released on $10,000 unsecured bond.
St. Clair will be ordered to appear before a U.S. District Judge at a date and time not yet determined.