Southern Oregon family pleads not guilty to money laundering and conspiracy charges

EUGENE, Ore. — A southern Oregon family has pleaded not guilty to charges that it filled its U.S. military defense contracts with defective knockoffs rather than government-specified parts for Army helicopters and trucks — including a critical helicopter part.

The Eugene Register-Guard reports that a federal judge entered the plea on behalf of Harold Ray Bettencourt Jr., his ex-wife and three of the couple's adult children on Tuesday.

The family faces charges that include conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.

Two other longtime employees of Bettencourt's Coos Bay company, Kustom Products Inc., also were arraigned Tuesday in the case. All seven remain free.

According to a federal grand jury indictment, Bettencourt's firm collected more than $7.5 million in government payments after selling "nonconforming, defective and counterfeit products" to the U.S. Department of Defense on at least 392 occasions.

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