Oregon contractor pleads guilty to defrauding US

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An Oregon defense contractor has pleaded guilty to selling $10 million worth of phony parts for attack helicopters and trucks to the U.S. government, including a locknut that secures the rotor on the Kiowa attack helicopter.

According to court records, Kustom Products Inc. owner Harold Ray Bettencourt II and four employees pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Portland to conspiracy to defraud the United States. Sentencing is scheduled Dec. 10.

Authorities said the company lied to the Defense Department to secure 750 contracts worth $10 million. They were able to undercut bids from other companies by substituting phony parts for genuine parts, and produced phony records to cover up the substitution, the government said.

A defense attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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