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Former OR National Guardsman ordered to repay $2.6 million to DOD over fraud

A former civilian member of the Oregon National Guard who managed the repair of small-engine parts and generators for the military at Camp Withycombe pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to making false statements to the government. (The Oregonian/TNS)

A former civilian member of the Oregon National Guard who managed the repair of small-engine parts and generators for the military at Camp Withycombe on Thursday pleaded guilty to double-billing the government for repairs that were never made.

Dominic Caputo, 48, of Clackamas County, agreed to pay $2.6 million in restitution to the U.S. Department of Defense, according to the plea agreement.

Caputo entered a guilty plea to one count of making a false statement before U.S .District Judge Karin J. Immergut. He initially was charged with four other counts of wire fraud, which will be dismissed.

When sentenced in May, prosecutors said they’ll ask for the low end of the sentencing guidelines, which is about two years and three months in prison.

Prosecutors alleged that Caputo sought reimbursement for bogus repairs on 1,380 engines, generators and other parts by submitting false work orders to the U.S. Army-Communications-Electronics Command. The alleged fraud occurred from 2012 through November 2014, according to the indictment.

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The Oregon National Guard operated the maintenance site at Camp Withycombe to refurbish out-of-service electronic equipment owned by the Department of Defense. It repaired and rebuilt small and large engines, generators, tires and other parts. It was the only site in the country capable of repairing and building certain engines to maintain a war-ready posture at the time, according to prosecutors.

Caputo billed the military in fiscal 2014 for more than 60 John Deere diesel engines that had already been repaired, rebuilt and billed for during fiscal 2012 and 2013, according to prosecutors. He ordered employees to remove the serial numbers on the engines so the scam wouldn’t be detected, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Kerin said.

Prosecutors noted that Caputo did not receive any personal benefit from the fraud.

In a plea petition, Caputo said he took the actions “to protect the program I worked for at (Oregon Sustainment Maintenance Site) and the jobs of my employees, and did not personally benefit financially in any way, and believed at the time we could make up the shortage in production and supply the quantity of paid-for engines.”

Caputo resigned from the Oregon National Guard in November 2014, according to Christopher L. Ingersoll, a spokesman for the Oregon Military Department.

His sentencing is set for May 4.

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© 2020 The Oregonian