Plaistow, N.H. Company Pleads Guilty to Lying About Oil-Absorbing Mats Sold to Military

ENCO Industries is based at 4 Wilder Drive, Plaistow, N.H.

A Plaistow, N.H., company that sold oil-absorbent mats to the military pleaded guilty yesterday to lying to the government.

Enco Industries lied to conceal the fact it did not secure the mats from a Department of Defense-approved manufacturer and what was sold did not meet specifications for dissipating static electricity or “surface resistivity.” Enco instead purchased cheaper mats, according to New Hampshire U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray.

“Defense procurement fraud is a serious crime that can jeopardize the safety of military personnel,” said Murray.

The military’s Defense Logistics Agency requested bids on 96,000 hazardous material mats over a five-year period. The solicitation required, among other things, that the mats pass standards established in National Fire Protection Association for static decay and surface resistivity. It also required the selected government contractor to purchase mats manufactured by a company in Tipton, Penn., or another company in Pennsylvania.

Enco had been an approved government contractor since 2004. In its Jan. 13, 2012 bid, Enco submitted its bid, stating the company would purchase mats from the Tipton company for $29.15 for each unit containing 100 mats during the first year of the five-year annually renewable contract. The government contends Enco did not intend to buy from Tipton.

From June 2012 to October 2013, Enco sold 21,700 units to the military, but only seven units came from Tipton. Enco was paid $683,513.55. In August 2013, an independent company found several of the mats did not meet contract requirements. Several months later, Enco’s president admitted the company bought mats from a non-approved manufacturer because the amount charged by the company in Tipton was too high. Murray contends Enco also lied that it was unable to identify the actual manufacturer.

Sentencing is expected to take place in September. The company could be placed on probation for up to five years and fined up to $500,000.

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