DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Fort Worth business owner was 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.
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.
U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman sentenced him to 55 months in federal prison on Thursday.
In his plea papers, Hyde admitted he invoiced the Navy for aircraft components which DOD later discovered were constructed from a cheaper 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, 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 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, Hyde admits he accepted the offer, and allowed the part to be manufactured with aluminum alloy 6061.
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 Hyde’s company had substituted the 6061 alloy for the 2024 alloy – rendering his bid false.