Army worker in bribery probe indicted for obstruction
NEWARK - An Army employee, suspected of rigging construction projects at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and Picatinny Arsenal, faces possible trial for allegedly taking bribes, orchestrating kickbacks and lying to federal investigators.
Kevin Joseph Leondi, 57, of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, is under indictment for obstruction of justice. He's also charged with conspiring to defraud the United States, causing another to travel across state lines to facilitate bribery, and conspiring to steer kickbacks between co-conspirators, according to the office of Acting New Jersey U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick.
Two co-defendants pleaded guilty. Leondi remains free on bail. A conviction for obstruction would place him at risk of up to 10 years in prison. The counts of conspiracy and travel in aid of bribery carry sentences of up to five years on conviction. Each charge carries a possible fine of up to $250,000.
Leondi was charged last March with conspiring to defraud the United States through bribes and kickbacks, in connection with charges contained in the indictment.
Leondi represented the Army regarding renovation projects at both bases. James Conway, working for the prime contracting company, was a regional project manager for large-scale construction at the installations. George Grassie, owner of a Pennsylvania construction, excavation and landscaping firm, subcontracted work at both.
Prosecutors allege that between December 2010 and August 2015, Leondi took more than $125,000 in cash bribes from Conway and Grassie, in return for work orders and for influence on future projects. In one instance, investigators contend, Conway brought $5,000 from New Jersey to Pennsylvania.
The bribes allegedly were often presented as legitimate transactions. Investigators said the Leondi would buy vehicles and equipment from Conway and Grassie and low prices, or sell gear to them at exorbitant prices. Leondi is accused of forcing Grassie to absorb another contractor's expenses connected to renovating his property.
Investigators believe that Leondi also transferred $46,000 in kickbacks from Grassie to Conway, as a reward for subcontracts that Conway gave to Grassie.
The indictment alleges that Leondi submitted false documents to federal authorities in response to a federal subpoena, intending to cover part of his arrangement with Grassie.
Grassie pleaded guilty to conspiracy and providing kickbacks last February. The previous August, Conway pleaded guilty to accepting kickbacks and wire fraud, involving other conduct, authorities said. Both cases are pending in U.S. District Court.
The government's case is led by Senior Litigation Counsel Leslie Faye Schwartz and Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Llanes. Leondi has retained the counsel of Newark attorneys Thomas Calcagni and Peter Katz.
Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.
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