Pennsylvania

Man charged with taking bribes for military base work

A Pennsylvania man took more than $100,000 in bribes in a scheme involving construction projects at two New Jersey military bases, the U.S. attorney's office said in a criminal complaint released Wednesday.

Kevin Leondi, 56, of Stroudsburg, was charged with conspiracy to accept bribes and defraud the United States, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence. He was scheduled to make an initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon in Newark.

According to the complaint, Leondi received $125,000 in bribes in the form of cash, the sale of unneeded equipment and work performed at his personal property. Leondi was employed by the Army as a contract specialist and served as liaison with contractors seeking work at Picatinny Arsenal and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

Leondi allegedly asked one contractor for $45,000 for help paying his mortgage, and received part of it by selling the contractor a piece of equipment worth $4,000 to $5,000 for roughly $28,000.

He also asked one contractor to install bathroom tiling and hardwood floors at his personal property for free, according to the complaint. When the contractor refused, the complaint said Leondi had a different contractor perform the work and forced the first contractor to pay for it.

Picatinny Arsenal is a center for research and development of weapons systems and ammunition, and Joint Base McGuire includes the installations formerly known separately as McGuire Air Force Base, Fort Dix and Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station.

A message left with Leondi's attorney wasn't immediately returned Wednesday.