Sussex County Mother Daughter Team Plead to Bribery at Picatinny Arsenal




NEWARK, NJ – A mother and daughter team from Sussex County have admitted to a bribery scheme regarding government contracts at Picatinny Arsenal according to U.S. Attorney’s office.  Irene Pombo, 68, of Hamburg and her daughter Nicole Pier, 38, of Byram pled guilty on March 20 in Newark federal court before U.S. District Judge John Vasquez.

They have been charged with conspiracy to exchange a variety of gifts valued from $150,000 to $250,000 to “obtain or retain contracts and other favorable assistance,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Pombo was identified in court documents as having been an employee of “Company A” a defense contracting firm working with the Department of Defense.  Pier was identified as a civilian employee.

Sign Up for E-News

The investigation uncovered the scheme that stretched from January of 2006 through December 2017.  Pombo admitted having filed false bills to the U.S. government hiding the costs of the bribes as “materials” on government contracts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. 

Pombo and other Company A employees gave gifts to several employees of Picatinny Arsenal including Apple products, luxury handbags, Beats headphones and tickets to a luxury sky box at professional sporting events, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

The duo is scheduled to be sentenced June 19, 2018.  The conspiracy charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss from the offence.

The announcement of Pombo and Pier’s pleas comes almost exactly one year after a similar case regarding a bribery scheme at the arsenal. 

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania man Kevin Leondi, 56 pled not guilty to charges of knowingly and intentionally conspiring to defraud the U.S. government by demanding and accepting bribes between December 2010 and August 2015, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.  

Leondi worked for the U.S. Army Tank Automobile and Armaments Command – U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering as a contract specialist representing the Army as a liaison between the contractors and the Army, according to U.S. Attorney documents.  Leondi worked at Picatinny and Joint Base McGuire-Dix Lakehurst.

According to the charges, Leondi had demanded and received cash, ordered unnecessary equipment for the Army, as well as a truck at a significantly reduced price for his personal use.  Leondi is also charged with disguising bribes by inflating the cost of equipment from the contractors.

Leondi had the contractors perform construction work on his home for free.  Leondi also directed work be done on another contract manager’s home in Pennsylvania who also got approximately $50,000 in kickbacks to help pay his mortgage. 

Leondi was indicted in December 2017.  Two contractors related to the case, George Grassie and James Conway had pled guilty for their role in the conspiracy. 

Grassie, a subcontractor for construction, excavation and landscaping at Picatinny Arsenal admitted paying kickbacks to Conway and manager Shawn Fuller.  Additionally, Grassie admitted paying bribes to obtain and retain contracts at the base.

Conway’s guilty plea covered charges of accepting kickbacks and a wire fraud charge, according to documents from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

They face maximum penalty of five years in prison for the bribery charges, 10 years in prison for the obstruction of justice charge and a maximum fine of $25,000.

In the Leondi matter, acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher; the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction Special Agent in Charge Leigh-Alistair Barzey, Northeast Field Office; and the U.S. Army, Major Procurement Fraud Unit, Criminal Investigation Command, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Larry Scott Moreland.    

The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel Leslie Faye Schwartz, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Llanes, Chief of the General Crimes Unit, in Newark.  

In the Pombo and Pier matter, U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Bradley W. Cohen in Newark; the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Leigh-Alistair Barzey, and the U.S. Army, Major Procurement Fraud Unit, Criminal Investigation Command, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge L. Scott Moreland, with the ongoing investigation.   

The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel Margaret Ann Mahoney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s National Security Unit in Newark

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police: Blocked Plate Ends with Drug Charges

April 16, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A Phillipsburg man pulled over for a traffic stop, ended up facing drug charges on April 11.  Around 7:55 p.m. on Route 15 Sparta Police Officer Steven Guido stopped a silver Saturn Ion for having an obstructed license plate, police report.

Charles Williams, 29, was driving with two passengers in the car.  When speaking with Williams, Guido smelled marijuana in the ...

Sparta Police: Running a Red Light ends with Drug Charges

SPARTA, NJ – A man stopped for driving through a red light on Route 15 wound up facing drug charges.  On March 30 Sparta Police Officer Thomas Herd pulled over Steven Lassends, 27in a black Infinity, on Route 15, police say.

When the officer spoke with the Montague resident, Herd smelled raw marijuana.  Herd, with the assistance of Sgt. Pensado, Cpl. Antonello and Police ...

Sparta Police: Traffic Stop Ends in Pot Arrest

SPARTA, NJ – A man from Ogdensburg is facing pot charges after a traffic stop on April 4 around 11 p.m. Police Office Thomas Herd pulled over a green Honda driven by John Malone, 23 for failing to move to the right lane, police report.

Herd smelled marijuana when speaking with Malone.  Malone admitted there was a “small marijuana roach” left in his car by a friend.

The Issue of Alternatives to Elected School Boards

April 14, 2018

The time of electing local school boards should come to an end. According to the National School Boards Association, “the local school board is a critical public link to public schools. Whether elected or appointed, school board members serve their communities in several important ways. First and foremost, school boards look out for students. Education is not a line item on the school ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, April 19, 9:00 AM

The First Presbyterian Church of Sparta, Sparta

FPCS Spring Rummage Sale

Giving Back

Thu, April 19, 7:00 PM

Sparta VFW Hall, Sparta

Importance of Bees


Sat, April 21, 9:00 AM


Earth Day Cleanup

Giving Back

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, April 29, 3:30 PM

Codey Arena, West Orange

Girls Try Hockey Free Clinic


Fri, May 4, 7:00 PM

Sparta Evangelical Free Church, Sparta

Veritas Christian Academy presents The Music Man

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, May 6, 7:00 AM

Liberty State Park, Jersey City

11th Annual Susan G. Komen North Jersey Race for ...

Health & Wellness

Sun, May 13, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, May 27, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Newton Council Candidates Call for Elections to be Moved

April 12, 2018

NEWTON, NJ – Four candidates for the Town of Newton Council have the same idea; move the election for council members to the November general elections.  Candidates Matt Dickson and Jason Schlaffer and Ludmilla Mecaj and Wayne Levante just do not agree on how to make that happen.

As a Faulkner Act town, Newton originally established their non-partisan elections to be held separately ...

Six 11th Congressional District Candidates Attend 'Town Hall Project Morristown' to Answer Questions on Gun Control

April 9, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Following a massive turnout of over 13,000 people at last month’s March for Our Lives Morristown rally, the students behind the march organized an event called “The Town Hall for Our Lives.” This event brought together 11th Congressional District candidates who were questioned by student panelists about their views on gun control and how make schools ...

Buy A Home To Build Your Family's Wealth

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate, on average, by 3.6% per year and to grow by 18.2% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey. Team Nest Builder wants you to understand what that means for homeowners and their equity positions.

As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home ...

Now’s the Time to Buy Your NJ Luxury Home

House no longer fits your needs? Planning on buying a New Jersey luxury home? Now is the time to do so!

Recently, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing released its Luxury Market Report which showed that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control.  The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds the number of people searching to purchase these ...

Buy a Home NOW Before Mortgage Rates Climb Higher

Whether you’re a buyer searching for your first home, or a homeowner looking to move up to your next home, Team Nest Builder knows you should pay attention to where mortgage interest rates are heading.

Over the course of 2018, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates increased from 3.95% in the first week of January to 4.40% in the first week of April.

At ...

6 Simple Decorating Tricks for Your NJ Home

Ever watched “Trading Spaces” and wondered, “How do they pull together a beautiful room so quickly?”  Team Nest Builder knows! Read on for these 6 simple decorating tricks from the newly relaunched “Trading Spaces” stars.  You’ll be amazed at what a difference they make in your New Jersey home!

Let Your Heart Choose Your Art

Laurie Smith ...

Clean Your Closet and Help Sussex County Children By Donating Shoes

You know those shoes in the back of your closet that scream.”I grew up watching “Friends”’? Team Nest Builder wants to help YOU get rid of them while doing good for Sussex County children, through the Sojihuggles Children’s Foundation.

Now through May 15th, donate your gently worn, used or new shoes to help underprivileged children in Sussex County while ...

Try The Rustic Industrial Decor Trend In Your New Jersey Home

The “Rustic Industrial” home design trend is everywhere these days. Contrasting textures and natural elements mixed with metals help keep this style family-friendly.  Want to bring this look into your New Jersey home? Team Nest Builder provides ideas here for how to put your rustic industrial space together (and offers an OPEN HOUSE in a newly-listed rustic industrial ...

Want to avoid gaining weight? Don’t diet!

Researchers aiming to identify lifestyle factors related to weight management followed more than 4,500 young adults (average age 24) for ten years. At the end of the study period, 77% of the men and 72% of the women had gained weight. The lifestyle factors associated with no weight gain among the remaining 23% of the men and 28% of women were regular eating patterns (not skipping meals) and no ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 14

On this week’s AtlantiCast, an internationally recognized orthopedic oncologist takes a leadership role at Atlantic Health System, see the newest weapon in the fight against HPV-related cancers, Atlantic Health System leads the Castle Connolly / Inside Jersey Rankings, and much more!


Vernon Township Retirees Who Inspire Fitness and Fun for Seniors Honored with Top Metro YMCA Award

April 19, 2018

Retirees Ann and Ray Fedorisin, unofficial health ambassadors at the Sussex County YMCA, weren’t always active seniors.

“We were well on our way to becoming committed couch potatoes,” Ann Fedorisin said. That changed in 2011, when her husband’s cardiologist told them their health insurance would cover a month of wellness coaching at the YMCA, she said.

The Vernon ...