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Ex-Professor Indicted in Surplus Goods Scam : Charges: Former Citrus College instructor and son are accused of acquiring $6.5 million in government property under donation program and selling it for personal gain.

July 04, 1993|DENISE HAMILTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

GLENDORA — A former Citrus College professor and his son have been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to steal about $6.5 million in surplus government property, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Michael John Mahan, 54, and his son Michael John Mahan Jr., 30, both of Huntington Beach, allegedly acquired cranes, engines, forklifts, raw metals, vehicles and machinery under the federal government's surplus property donation program, the indictment said.

The program allows the government to donate surplus property to qualified public agencies, such as schools and colleges, for use in education and research programs.

The indictment, returned on June 18, charges that Mahan, while a Citrus instructor in the diesel technology program, requested that the college authorize him to acquire surplus property for use in his program.

The indictment said Citrus College, which is in Glendora, was unaware of Mahan's activities. Citrus officials are satisfied that all the surplus government property it currently uses for vocational programs was obtained legally and is properly inventoried, said Isaac J. Romero, the college executive vice president of instruction.

Between May, 1991, and April, 1992, Mahan acquired huge amounts of surplus property, which he and his son stored at several Los Angeles and San Diego facilities, the indictment charges.

The Mahans sold or attempted to sell the items for their personal gain, according to the indictment. In April, 1992, the government executed search warrants at six locations--including Mahan's office at Citrus College--and seized 12 truckloads of heavy machinery and numerous documents.

At that time, Mahan was put on administrative leave and his contract was not renewed the following year, a Citrus College spokeswoman said.

The indictment also charges that in 1989, prior to his employment with Citrus College, Mahan convinced Oceanside Christian School, formerly in Oceanside, to authorize him to acquire surplus government property on behalf of the school.

Mahan acquired more than 44,000 pounds of aluminum under the U.S. program, which he and his son then sold to an Anaheim metals dealer, according to the indictment.

If found guilty on all counts, Mahan, who was also charged with 14 counts of theft of government property, faces a maximum sentence of 75 years in prison and $3.75 million in fines. His son faces a maximum of five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

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