Fuses Trigger Investigation, Government Defuses Explosive Situation

Government employee Daniel L. Powell faces up to 45 years in prison and and/or a fine of up to $2.25 million following his conviction for making false claims about the safety of allegedly "demilitarized" fuses.

The troubles of a federal employee who helped create a potentially deadly problem have just begun.

Daniel L. Powell, a federal Quality Assurance representative at the Defense Contract Management office in Pittsburgh, Pa., has been convicted of making false claims against the government and faces a maximum sentence of up to 45 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2.25 million.

Powell performed oversight duties on a contract the U.S. Army held with Talon Manufacturing Co. Inc., located in Wyoming County, W.Va. It was Powell''s job to ensure that time fuses from military munitions were properly "demilitarized" and made safe by Talon before being disposed.

Instead, Powell entered into an agreement with Talon to accept false certifications from the company on 453,153 fuses. Powell falsely stipulated that the munitions had been made safe. The government was then charged $346,630 for services that were not performed.

The fuses were stored at SADCO Recovery Inc.''s bunkers at Jumping Branch and Point Pleasant, W.Va., in a manner that could have led to an explosion. The government seized approximately 800,000 non-demilitarized fuses from SADCO, which is owned by the owners of Talon. The Army eventually will have to spend approximately $2.5 million to make the recovered fuses safe for disposal.

The Environmental Protection Agency''s Criminal Investigation Division and National Enforcement Investigations Center provided investigative assistance to the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the FBI, the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division, the West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations and the Commission on Special Investigations of the State of West Virginia in the investigation of this case. The U.S. Attorney''s Office in Charleston, W.Va., is prosecuting the case.

by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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