Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008

Man pleads guilty to bribery conspiracy

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A Silver Spring man pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit bribery and obstruction of an agency investigation as part of a plan to gain government contracts for his business.

Louis Pisani Jr., 42, also pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a separate case for his part in a scheme where another man burned down a house Pisani co-owned in order to collect insurance, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Maryland.

In the bribery and obstruction case, prosecutors said Pisani conspired with Leon Krachyna, 39, of Rockville to bribe Kevin R. Roach, 46, of Fredericksburg, Va., a contract specialist with Walter Reed Army Medical Center, to award contracts to Pisani’s companies, according to the case’s statement of facts, a court document that stipulates what prosecutors would have introduced had the Pisani case gone to trial.

The incidents took place between 1999 and 2003. One contract was for more than $245,000 for the first year and potentially worth up to $1.2 million for four option years, the document said.

Pisani and Krachyna gave Roach 10 percent of the contract proceeds, the document said.

Pisani and Krachyna were officers and 50 percent shareholders in Home Sweet Home Moving and Storage in Hyattsville. Pisani was the sole shareholder of Platinum Contractors, with offices in Silver Spring and Hyattsville.

Pisani faces a maximum of five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for the conspiracy and obstruction charges, the release said.

Krachyna pleaded guilty March 9, 2007, to conspiracy to commit bribery and faces a maximum sentence of five years.

Roach was indicted in October 2006 on conspiracy to commit bribery. He is scheduled for trial Feb. 5, said Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Maryland.

Pisani faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and three years of supervised release for the mail fraud charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Thomas Patrick Moriarty, 38, of Bethesda pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with the scheme to defraud the insurance company by setting fire to the house and faces a maximum of 20 years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Man charged with robbing department stores

A 25-year-old man has been charged with two counts of armed robbery for incidents at two department stores at Westfield Wheaton.

Montgomery County Police allege that Jonathon Schwentner of no fixed address took money about 9 p.m. Dec. 29 from a cashier at Macy’s, 11160 Veirs Mill Road. The man hinted he had a gun, police said in a news release.

On Jan. 2, police said a man that police also allege was Schwentner entered J.C. Penney at Westfield Wheaton about 11 a.m. He told the cashier he had a gun and demanded cash, said Officer Melanie Hadley, a police spokeswoman.

Hadley said the cashier refused and told the man that the store had security cameras. The man fled.

The following day, police on the Wheaton Special Assignment Team detained Schwentner near the Glenmont Metro station. He was charged in connection with both incidents and is being held in lieu of $750,000 bond.