The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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April 25, 2013

Convicted brothers seek support: Reach out for character witnesses, letter writers

WINDBER — Convicted businessmen Ronald and William Kuchera are reaching out to friends, former employees and the community to be character witnesses and write letters of support during their sentencing hearing later this year.

The founders of the former Kuchera Defense Systems Inc. and Kuchera Industries Inc., both of Windber, pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this month to defrauding the government.

William Kuchera, 58, of Summerhill, and Ronald Kuchera, 51, of Johnstown, pleaded guilty to major fraud against the government and conspiracy. They face up to 15 years in prison and millions in fines and civil penalties.

This week, a letter was sent to former employees and others, asking for support during the sentencing.

“It would be extremely helpful at the sentencing stage in our case if you would offer your support in the form of written letter to the judge who will hear our case,” the letter reads.

“Reference and character letters should come from our friends, relatives, clergymen, physicians, neighbors, customers, and business associates, etc. to assist the court in understanding the type of people we truly are.”

The letter describes how submissions should be written and includes a sample form.

It is a common strategy for those facing possible jail time, Kuchera attorney Jerry A. Johnson of Pittsburgh said.

The Kuchera brothers’ history of contributions to the community and practice of hiring disabled workers are among the aspects some character witnesses might relate, Johnson suggested.

The letter suggests writers could mention the impact a jail sentence would have on the brothers’ community, church and volunteer work.

Johnson did not specify the Kucheras’ current volunteer activities.

“You can come to the hearing,”  Johnson said. “You will find the answers to all that.”

The letter includes a stamped envelope with a Windber address identified by the Pennsylvania Department of State as the business location for Steel Green Holdings LLC, formerly Kuchera Holdings LLC.

Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. lists Ron Kuchera as Green Holdings’ principal officer and shows revenue of $110,000 for 2011.

It is also a business address for B & C Game Ranch, LP, formerly Kuchera Game Ranch, LP, the state department website said, also listing LBK Game Ranch LLC as the general partner.

The website for LBK Game Ranch identifies it as the 170-acre enclosed deer hunting preserve at William Kuchera’s Summerhill Township home.

Lena and Bill Kuchera are listed as owners.

Bill Kuchera answered the phone at the number listed on the letter. He confirmed that his attorneys were sending the request for character letters.

Asked about the brothers’ community and business activities, he said, “We have a whole boatful of really good stuff we are working on.”

Pressed for details, he referred questions to his attorneys.

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