CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - For the first time, the Commander at the Defense Supply Center of Richmond (DSCR) is speaking out about an international conspiracy that sent a serial fraudster to prison for life.
Those involved say the scam could have put our troops in harms way had it not been caught by the Department of Defense at the Chesterfield County operation.
It sounds so much like a movie script, and takes place at a closely guarded site, home to one of Central Virginia's largest employers.
Roger Day has been called a criminal mastermind and a thief, who tried to rip off the country's military of $11 million by supplying it bogus and defective parts. He was convicted last year by a Richmond jury of multiple counts of wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to smuggle goods. Day is now serving 105 years in federal prison.
Day created fake companies and bid on contracts at the DSCR. He won nearly a thousand contracts, worth $4.4 million. He even shipped the Department of Defense defective products.
"We worked very hard with the justice department and helping them to prosecute Mr. Day," says Brigadier General Scott Jansson, the Commander at the Defense Supply Center. He says Day's scheme could have directly impacted our men and women overseas. "If some of those fraudulent components defective components that he tried to sell us were ultimately installed in an aircraft some place it could have resulted in loss of life or loss of mission support."
Jansson says the Day case is just one example of what goes on at the Defense Logistics Agency - Aviation (DLA-Aviation), which is headquartered at the DSCR.
The 600-acre site showcases choppers and F-14s. 3,000 people from Metro Richmond work here and only about 1% of that work force is actually military. The DLA-Aviation is responsible for supplying parts for aircraft- including major weapons systems.
"We support over 5,000 aircraft worldwide," said Jansson.
They don't make the parts for the aircraft here. They take bids and buy them from contractors and get them shipped to the troops.
"We're making sure that they have the right parts, spare parts at the right times, so they can keep their aircraft flying," added Jansson.
In 2010, the DLA-Aviation handled more than $4.4 billion in sales. "We feel a real strong affinity for our customers, particularly the war fighter that's at the point of the arrow if you will, often in harms way," said Jansson.
On top of catching fraud, like the Day conspiracy, DLA-Aviation also has one more big job: finding ways to reduce the cost of the parts needed for aircraft.
They showed NBC12 a generator cooling duct for the Navy Hawkeye. Each one costs $4,400 to make. Navy engineers at DSCR figured out a way to make them for just $500. A door handle for the Blackhawk was also redesigned by engineers to save money.
"We've ordered 3,500 of these and saved $2.4 million," said former Engineering Director Karron Small.
As the military continues its draw down of troops in Afghanistan, the commander says it will impact his operation, but he says DLA-Aviation is not leaving Richmond anytime soon. He says even in peace time, parts are needed to keep the military's aircraft flying.
Roger Day is appealing his sentence and conviction.