February 26, 2010

Bribery scheme mastermind sentenced to eight years

TREVOR MAXWELL

— By

Staff Writer

PORTLAND — A prominent defense contractor from Maine was sentenced to eight years in federal prison on Friday for bribing Army officials, deceiving Congress and bilking millions of dollars from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Maurice ''Moe'' Subilia Jr., 65, of Kennebunkport is recovering from heart surgery and will begin his sentence in April.

Judge D. Brock Hornby ordered Subilia to pay $9.2 million in restitution -- the government's total loss in the case. Subilia pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy, money laundering and bribery of public officials.

Two of Subilia's relatives -- Robert Subilia of Wells, a brother, and Paul Hurlburt of Kennebunk, a son-in-law -- were sentenced Friday for lesser roles in the scheme.

Robert Subilia, 58, was sentenced to two years in prison plus restitution of $345,000. Hurlburt, 37, was sentenced to three years in prison plus restitution of $470,000.

The case was the most significant weapons fraud ever to originate from the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command, outside Huntsville, Ala., prosecutors said.

Hornby said the participants in the fraud betrayed the military, Congress and taxpayers.

''These are deeply disturbing offenses, reprehensible,'' Hornby said during the hearing in U.S. District Court. ''Unfortunately, too much of this goes on and is not caught.

''This is a family tragedy on the highest order,'' the judge said. He told the large group of family members and friends in attendance that it is possible to learn from tragedies. Hornby said the principles of integrity, family and community must be placed above ''wealth and greed.''

Maurice Subilia had close ties at the Space and Missile Defense Command because he was the longtime president of Fiber Materials Inc., a Biddeford-based contractor that produces parts for missiles.

In 2000, Subilia made a secret deal with Michael Cantrell, an Army official who controlled contracts for the missile command. The plan was to skim money that had been earmarked by Congress for missile defense projects.

From 2000 to 2007, Subilia paid more than $1.2 million in bribes to Cantrell and another Army official, Douglas Ennis.

In exchange for the bribes, the Army officials directed more than $10 million in subcontracts to companies controlled by Subilia. His companies supplied materials that were mostly worthless to the military, including government scrap and previously used display items.

Subilia apparently committed his crimes behind the backs of other leaders at Fiber Materials. No one else at that company was accused of wrongdoing. Subilia resigned as president of Fiber Materials in April 2007, when federal agents seized records from Subilia and told him that he was under investigation.

At a hearing in Alabama last month, Cantrell was sentenced to five years in prison. Ennis has pleaded guilty to conspiracy but has not yet been sentenced.

Subilia and Cantrell were the central players in the scheme, prosecutors said. They dictated the terms of the agreement and the flow of money, some of which was laundered through overseas banks.

''The government is satisfied with the sentences imposed today,'' said Richard Murphy, assistant U.S. attorney for Maine. Murphy recommended a 10-year sentence for Maurice Subilia, and 3½-year sentences for Robert Subilia and Hurlburt.

''We don't see financial crimes of this magnitude in our district very often,'' Murphy said.

Robert Subilia's role in the fraud primarily involved his assistance with the construction of Cantrell's $1.25 million home. According to court records, Subilia wrote checks totaling $345,000 to more than a dozen home-supply companies and several individuals in Alabama from April 2004 to March 2005.

Cantrell's home, which has been seized by the government, was built in an exclusive neighborhood in Huntsville and featured a $20,000 home theater.

In 2003, Hurlburt incorporated a research and development company, Vicus Technologies, with his father-in-law. In May 2004, Hurlburt wrote a $50,000 check to Cantrell.

Vicus Technologies received $420,000 through the Space and Missile Defense Command, under a contract controlled by Cantrell. It never delivered the missile parts described in the contract.

All three defendants apologized to the court and their families on Friday.

''He basically acknowledged that he lost his moral compass,'' said Bruce Merrill, Hurlburt's lawyer.

Hurlburt has spoken to business students at Husson University in Bangor and St. Joseph's College in Standish. He talked about the impact that his crimes had on his family, and cautioned the students not to make the same mistakes, Merrill said.

Toby Dilworth, Maurice Subilia's lawyer, said he and his client were thankful for a sentence of less than 10 years. Dilworth had asked for a five-year sentence to be followed by two years of home confinement.

''Obviously, it's not a happy day,'' Dilworth said. ''He was disappointed because he always told his kids to do the right thing, and he didn't follow his own rules.''

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

tmaxwell@pressherald.com

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