Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Canada Orders Area Man Deported He Fled Fraud Charge over Tents for Military

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Canada Orders Area Man Deported He Fled Fraud Charge over Tents for Military

Article excerpt

Steve Schrang says he doesn't want to return to St. Louis because he's afraid of the Defense Department.

He might have good reason to be concerned.

A federal indictment accuses him of producing 40,000 pieces of defective fabric used in military field hospital tents in Operation Desert Storm and of falsifying the results of tests on the fabric. The government alleges that, among other problems, the fabric caught fire too easily. Schrang, a fugitive from St. Louis, disappeared 18 months ago.

On Tuesday, a Canadian immigration judge ordered that Schrang be deported over federal charges in St. Louis that he defrauded the U.S. Defense Department.

Schrang is seeking political asylum, contending that he and his family are in danger from Defense Department authorities. He provided no details.

Schrang, formerly of Golden Eagle, Ill., will be allowed to remain in Canada until his request for political asylum is resolved.

The all-day deportation hearing gave John Lake, a Defense Department investigator from St. Louis, his first look at Schrang since September 1992. That was when Schrang went before a federal grand jury in St. Louis.

Schrang, 35, formerly headed Neese Coated Fabrics in St. Louis. The federal indictment returned in October accuses him of fraud and conspiracy in falsifying test results on a Defense Department contract and of abandoning hazardous waste at Neese's plant on Hadley Street, just north of downtown. The company closed in 1990.

Schrang vanished in October 1992, shortly after the EPA showed up to clean out his business. City officials condemned the Neese building in 1991 after two fires damaged the brick structure. Schrang isn't blamed for the fires.

Lake heads the investigation of Schrang, which began in 1990. Even though Schrang remains out of his grasp, Lake said he was pleased with the deportation order. "It establishes the fact that Mr. Schrang was deeply involved in the operation of his company," Lake said.

If Schrang returned to the United States and was found guilty, he could get as much as 25 years in prison and fines totaling $1.25 million. All things considered, Schrang prefers remaining in Canada. …

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