An Edgewood contractor accused of defrauding the government to further his wife's country-western singing career has been indicted on charges of submitting more than $1.8 million in false expense claims to the federal government, the U.S. attorney's office said yesterday.
Robert David Leas, president of American Construction Services, is accused in the new indictment of trying to bill the Federal Aviation Administration for unallowable expenses, including child care, a cruise to Hawaii and the South Pacific, the purchase of a Pontiac Firebird and a loan to an acquaintance.
According to the indictment, Leas, 49, submitted the uncertified claims from 1992 to 1995 for work done in 1991 at the FAA Technical Center at New Jersey International Airport in Atlantic City.
The claims were in addition to $1.7 million in contracts Leas was awarded by the FAA.
Leas did not receive the additional $1.8 million, officials said, and the claims are pending before a government administrative board of appeals.
The two new charges come in addition to an Oct. 2 indictment in which Leas is accused of stealing nearly $500,000 in expense money from the government in the early 1990s and using part of it to aid the singing career of his now-estranged wife, Alicia Faye Major.
Authorities contend that Leas funneled more than $90,000 of government money into a company founded by Major to promote her career. The money allegedly was used to pay for expenses, including a two-bedroom townhouse in an affluent Nashville neighborhood, a record producer and a $4,000-a-month manager.
Leas' fuel storage tank company was awarded contracts in excess of $2.6 million that federal prosecutors allege Leas obtained fraudulently by listing his wife, a Native American, as head of the company to receive minority preference.
Leas pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Baltimore two months ago to charges of conspiracy to defraud the government, making a false claim, making a false statement, and obstruction of an audit.
If convicted, Leas could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison and fined $250,000 for each of the six counts against him. The company could be fined $500,000.
Pub Date: 12/05/96