As part of a continuing federal investigation of Southern California's defense industry, a former Northrop Corp. engineer and the chief executive of a Glendale company were accused Monday of fraud in unrelated cases involving subcontracting work on the Air Force's top-secret stealth bomber.
The fraud complaints were filed by the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles against William Reinke, 56, a former engineer with Northrop's Advanced Systems Division in Pico Rivera, and Charles F. Lombard, 55, a resident of Branford, Conn., chief executive officer of Lamsco West Inc. of Glendale.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Fred D. Heather, who has been heading the federal probe, said a key tip in the Lombard case came from a Brea firm, Blaisdell Manufacturing Inc.
Blaisdell President Gerry Koch said the company contacted federal authorities after Lombard, a competitor, allegedly asked Blaisdell last May to work with his own Lamsco West firm to fix bid prices for stealth subcontracting work.
Lombard allegedly schemed to fix bids for a high technology laminated substance that is used to connect the wings of the stealth bomber to its fuselage.
Lamsco West is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alinabal Inc., of Milford, Conn. Lombard is vice chairman of Alinabal, Heather said.
In the other case, Reinke, who lives in Brea, was charged with two counts of mail fraud alleging that he persuaded Northrop officials to award $600,000 in subcontracts to RF Engineering, an Orange County firm that he secretly owned, in 1984 and 1985.
Heather said that parts for the stealth bomber sold to Northrop by RF Engineering were bought elsewhere and resold to Northrop at inflated prices. For example, $20 headphones were resold for $90 and cable bought at $1.24 a foot was resold at $4.50 a foot.
Reinke quit his job at Northrop during the investigation, Heather said.
Last year, 10 persons involved in defense subcontract work were indicted by a Los Angeles federal grand jury, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, kickbacks and bribery, and received sentences ranging from probation to three years in prison.
Many of them cooperated with investigators by providing information about other illicit schemes, federal authorities said.
A former buyer for Northrop at its Advanced Systems Division, Ronald Emile Brousseau, 45, got the stiffest sentence--three years in prison--of the 10 men charged.
Heather would not say if Reinke's prosecution stemmed from any information provided by Brousseau or the others.
Arraignment for Lombard and Reinke has been set in Los Angeles federal court for March 10 and March 17, respectively.
Both men face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.