Sun, Jun 26, 2011
Accused Of Defrauding The Federal Government With Knockoff
Members of the Bettencourt family of Coos Bay, OR, have filed a
series of lawsuits for the recovery of assets that were seized in
an investigation of the alleged delivery of fraudulent
helicopter parts. The family members have consistently claimed
their innocence in the matter.
The family operated Kustom Products Inc., which had received a
DoD contract for parts totalling $31 million. The Oregon newspaper
The World reports that the government has accused Kustom
Products and the Bettencourts of furnishing knockoff lugnuts ...
also known as "Jesus Nuts" ... which attach a helicopter's main
rotor to the mast. Had they been installed and failed, aircraft and
personnel could have been lost.
But the Bettencourts say they did not defraud the government.
Company president Harold Bettencourt II told the paper last year
that the company had done nothing wrong, and each member of the
family is now suing for the return of their property. Those items
are reported to include several pickups including a Hummer H2,
boats and other watercraft, and more than $350,000.
There has also been a charge of steroid use involving a police
officer that has cropped up during the search and subsequent
investigation. While no charges have yet been filed, the FBI says
they are coming next year.
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