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NJ defense contractor who sold feds the wrong military equipment gets 3 years in prison

Isolated prison cells. (Kecko/Flickr)

A 49-year-old New Jersey man who owned two defense contracting firms was sentenced to three years in federal prison for defrauding the U.S. Department of Defense, illegally sharing sensitive technical information and failing to pay taxes.

Roger Sobrado will also be subject to three years of supervised release and have to pay $8,043,977 in restitution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement after the Burlington County resident appeared in federal court in Camden on Wednesday.

Sobrado, of Marlton, in Evesham Township, pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act, and tax evasion.

Sobrado, who owned two Berlin Township-based companies, obtained contracts from the defense department to supply them with military parts and equipment for fighter jets and helicopters from 2011 to 2015, authorities said.

The parts Sobrado shipped to various Department of Defense locations didn’t conform to specifications or were otherwise not exactly as described, according to prosecutors.

Sobrado recruited family members, including his brother-in-law Oben Cabalceta, 53, of the Atco section of Waterford to participate in the scheme.

Cabalceta, the owner of two manufacturing companies in the West Berlin section of Berlin Township, obtained contracts with Department of Defense to provide specific parts for military equipment from authorized manufacturers. Instead, Cabalceta obtained the equipment from local manufacturers or produced the parts himself at a much lower cost, authorities said. He won the contracts on multiple occasions between 2004 and 2016 and was paid $1,890,939 for the fake parts.

Cabalecta arrived in the United States from Costa Rica on a six-month visa in June 1999 and never left, authorities said. As a result, Cabalecta broke the law when he had his brother-in-law submit an application to access restricted technical data that can only be viewed by U.S. citizens or people here legally.

In April, Cabalecta pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act and one count of conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act.

Sobrado previously admitted that he deposited some of business receipts into his personal bank account and that he paid for personal items from his business account without telling his accountant. For tax years 2011 through 2014, Sobrado reported a total taxable income of $1,608,372. He failed to report additional income of $1,182,405, which shorted the government $509,962 in taxes.


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