Federal prosecutors allege that a Twin Cities man with forgery in his background submitted more than $700,000 in false claims to a class-action settlement fund meant for those who suffered property damage from faulty plumbing fittings.
Mark D. Sampica, 50, of Champlin, was charged in federal court in Minneapolis last week with mail fraud for using his three sons’ names and forging documents from home inspectors and construction companies. From eight claims Sampica netted $6,919, prosecutors allege.
This is the second federal case against Sampica alleging the forging of documents. While in the military, he was charged in 2006 and pleaded guilty to filing false paperwork in an effort to get transferred from the Minnesota Air National Guard to Robins Air Force Base in central Georgia, according to court records.
Sampica, who is now retired from the Guard, was sentenced to three years’ probation and two 48-hours stints in jail.
The class-action settlement involved Zurn Pex Plumbing, of Erie, Pa., and grew out of its sale of defective brass plumbing fittings. Payments from the settlement were capped at $20 million. Zurn widely publicized the fund and also made a claim form available on its website.
Sampica’s attorney, Tom Bauer, said his client does not contest the allegations and is hoping to avoid imprisonment.
“We’ve discussed a plea agreement,” Bauer said. “We’re trying to finalize that. I’m trying to mitigate any incarceration that might be [applicable] under the sentencing guidelines.”
According to the indictment, Sampica sent in the signed claim forms from June 2013 to April 2014, seeking $722,972 in total. His claims pointed to supposed damage to properties he did not own, detailed leaks that did not occur and submitted claims in the names of his three sons. One claim for $230,000 for damage to a Maple Grove home bore the name of a son who was under 18 at the time.
Sampica also forged letters from home inspectors and construction companies and created fake checks to create the impression that he paid for the repairs, the indictment said.