ROXBURY, NJ – Machine gun bipods made by a Wharton company failed when soldiers tried to use them, a situation that led this week to a Hackettstown man admitting he lied to the government about the units’ quality, according to officials.
The man, Mark Colello, 54, admitted Tuesday in federal court that he “made false statements and submitted false documents” to the government about the parts, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
Colello is the former chief operating officer of Applied Resources Corp., a company on Dewey Avenue in Wharton that was awarded a U.S. Army contract to make the bipod assemblies for the M249 light machine gun, said the government. It said Colello made the false representations in April 2015.
“Colello falsified test results for the hardness of steel used to construct the bipod assemblies and then submitted the falsified test results in his bid for the contract,” said an information filed against Colello in lieu of an indictment.
It said Colello also “falsified the test results for the magnetic particle inspection of the head and collar bipod assemblies.”
The improperly built bipods did not perform as required, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “The weaker grade steel and the faulty head and collar joints caused the legs of the bipods to fail when soldiers attempted to use them to support their machine guns,” it explained.
Colello pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month. The count of making false statements carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, said the government.
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