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Fort Worth business owner pleads guilty to lying to U.S. Department of Defense

Last updated on July 19, 2020

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A Fort Worth man has been sentenced to more than four-and-a-half years in federal prison for lying to the U.S. Department of Defense about the metal used inside his company’s aircraft parts, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.

Richard Ross Hyde, the 64-year-old owner of Vista Manufacturing Company, pleaded guilty in August 2019 to making a false claim against the United States. He was sentenced Thursday to 55 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman.

In his plea papers, Mr. Hyde admits that he invoiced the Navy for aircraft components which DOD later discovered were constructed from a different metal than the one his company said it would use.

On Aug. 18, 2014, Vista Manufacturing submitted a bid to the government to provide critical parts for a Naval Air Warfare Center aircraft, Mr. Hyde told the court. In the $12,897.50 bid, the company included a diagram noting measurements, specifications, and descriptions of the materials required for production – notably, aluminum alloy 2024.

Six days later, the government accepted Vista’s bid, and Mr. Hyde began seeking out manufacturers for the 22 wiper back retainers included in the bid.

He found a company that offered to manufacture the parts with a different aluminum alloy, 6061, for $8,492. Despite the fact that Vista’s contract with the Navy required them to use aluminum alloy 2024, Mr. Hyde admits he accepted the offer, and allowed the part to be manufactured with aluminum alloy 6061.

Mr. Hyde admits that on Jan. 21, 2015, he had the completed parts – made with the 6061 alloy – delivered to a Defense Logistics Agency distribution facility. He invoiced the DOD’s Defense Financing and Accounting Services for $12,897.50 and received the full payment on Feb. 4, 2015.

A subsequent examination of the parts he delivered revealed that the metal used to manufacture the wiper back retainers did not match the diagram on Vista’s bid; testing revealed that Mr. Hyde’s company had substituted the 6061 alloy for the 2024 alloy – rendering his bid false.

The U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the Defense Logistics Agency; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Army Criminal Investigative Division’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit; the Air Force Office of Special Investigations; the Naval Criminal Investigative Service; and the Defense Contract Management Agency conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Bradford prosecuted the case.

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