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2 defense contractors sentenced in Navy air base bribery scheme

May 21, 2013|By Tony Perry
  • An E-2C Hawkeye prepares to land on the flight deck of the U.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf.
An E-2C Hawkeye prepares to land on the flight deck of the U.S. aircraft carrier… (U.S. Navy )

SAN DIEGO -- Two defense contractors have been sentenced to three years in prison for their part in a fraud and bribery scheme involving phony payments for the repair of military aircraft at North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado.

Robert Ehnow and Joanne Loehr, owners of Poway-based companies, were convicted in San Diego federal court of showering Navy officials with gifts and cash in exchange for millions of dollars in payments for work supposedly done on planes at the Fleet Readiness Center.

Among the bribes were retail gift cards, flat-screen television sets, luxury massage chairs, model airplanes, bicycles costing thousands of dollars and home repairs. The cost of the bribes was hidden within bills submitted to the Navy, according to prosecutors.

“These defense contractors told lies, and gave bribes, to get millions of dollars in business from the United States Navy," said U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy.

Ehnow and Loehr were sentenced Monday.

Ehnow's company, L&N Industrial Tool & Supply Inc., received $3 million in Navy contracts; Loehr's company, Centerline Industrial Inc., received $1.8 million, according to prosecutors.

Three other contractors have each received sentences of 18 months in prison in connection with the case; two former civilian employees of the Navy received sentences of 31 and 40 months, respectively, and two others received probation.

The scheme involved alleged work on the E-2 Hawkeye, an airborne early warning plane, and the C-2 Greyhound, which ferries personnel and equipment from shore to aircraft carriers. ALSO:

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tony.perry@latimes.com

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