Guilty pleas expected in Michigan missile probe

A father and son at a Michigan metal business, hired to perform welding on parts of Tomahawk missiles, admit they didn't inform the government when they gave the work to a Chicago company.
AP Wire
May 4, 2014

Dennis Frederick and son Brian Frederick of Precision Metal Spinning in Fenton are scheduled to plead guilty next Wednesday to making false statements.

Precision Metal had a contract to weld seams on the outer wall assembly of missile engines. But it had difficulty meeting specifications and instead hired Weld Seam Inc. of Chicago, according to documents filed this week in Flint federal court.

Cracks were discovered in 2011 by Williams International Corp., the company supplying the engines to the main missile contractor, Raytheon Corp.

Eighty-three metal assemblies were scrapped and 2,700 more had to be inspected, the government said.

"Both of my clients are very remorseful, humbled by the situation," attorney Michael Manley said Friday. "They made a poor decision that they had a better way of doing it."

The government said the Fredericks immediately cooperated when federal agents searched the business, 60 miles north of Detroit, in 2012.

"I don't believe any of our servicemen were ever put in danger," Manley said.

Prosecutors are recommending 18-month prison sentences to be served at different times so the business can remain open with one of the Fredericks in charge. Manley praised the government for not using its authority to shut down Precision Metal.

"They could have brought a much bigger hammer that would have affected 40 jobs in Genesee County," he said.

The Fredericks must repay $1.6 million to the government in a series of payments through February 2020.

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