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Glendale man pleads guilty to major fraud in Air Force housing case

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PHOENIX– A Glendale man pleaded guilty to major fraud against the United States for his role in defrauding the U.S. Air Force in relation to privatized military housing contracts, authorities said Wednesday.

Rick Cunefare, 61, was responsible for reviewing and approving the fraudulent quarterly maintenance reports with performance incentive fee requests as a manager at the property management firm responsible for defrauding the Air Force, officials said in the release.

The company managed five Air Force base housing communities that were created through the Military Privatized Housing Initiative, which was intended to attract private sector financing and expertise to provide essential housing for military members and their dependents.

A portion of the company’s revenue was based on its ability to meet maintenance performance objectives, such as completing maintenance requests within a short time frame.

Cunefare, along with other employees at the company, falsely inflated the performance objectives between 2013-15 in order to receive approximately $2.5 million, according to court documents.

Stacy Cabrera, a 47-year-old Texas woman, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, acted on the instructions of Cunefare and others to falsify the maintenance records in order to obtain increased performance bonuses.

“The defendants defrauded the U.S. Air Force and put corporate profits ahead of the well-being of servicemembers and their families,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

“The department is committed to protecting our military families from deceit and mistreatment and ensuring the integrity of Department of Defense programs.”

Cunefare is scheduled for sentencing at a later date and he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Cabrera is also scheduled for sentencing at a later date and she faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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