Bel Air man to plead guilty in theft from National Guard: Court filings

March 06, 2014|By Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PITTSBURGH — — A former National Guard employee from Bel Air, charged in crimes that prosecutors say might have cost the government $300,000, has agreed to plead guilty, according to court filings.

U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab set a March 27 hearing date in a notice indicating that the prosecution and defense have entered into a plea agreement.

Robert St. Clair, 50, was charged Wednesday with 10 counts of conspiracy, false claims and theft of government property.

The scheme outlined by prosecutors involved St. Clair and Air National Guard Col. Gerard Mangis, 59, of Shaler, Pa., a technician and later comptroller of the 171st Air Refueling Wing at Pittsburgh International Airport. Mangis was indicted on 110 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, false claims against the United States and theft of government property.

St. Clair, a former National Guard Bureau civilian financial analyst at Joint Base Andrews in Prince George's County, was in charge of parceling out paid "workdays," according to prosecutors.

Financial problems threatened St. Clair's security clearance, and therefore his job, prosecutors say. Mangis gave him a paid, no-show reservist post at the 171st, and concealed it from others in the Guard, they say.

St. Clair then gave Mangis "workdays," according to prosecutors, allowing him to receive double pay for the same day, and to be paid for days on which he did no work.

According to the indictment of Mangis, 633 duty rosters then were falsified on St. Clair's behalf, and he was given "false passing scores" on his physical fitness examinations, all at the colonel's direction.

U.S. Attorney David Hickton said Wednesday that the investigation, which started in 2010, continues and could involve charges against others.

St. Clair's attorney, Tina Miller, declined comment late Wednesday.

St. Clair has no current connection with the 171st and had resigned from his civilian job, according to prosecutors.

Mangis is on inactive status with the Air National Guard, and resigned from a job as a fiscal-purchasing manager for Pennsylvania's Allegheny County after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an article about the investigation in January.

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