A Bucks County contractor who extorted hundreds of dollars in kickbacks from his employees was sentenced Tuesday in Camden to more than seven years in federal prison, federal prosecutors said.

Leonard Santos, 68, of Yardley, was the owner of Sands Mechanical Inc. The company had been hired in 2009 to provide sheet metal, electrical and plumbing work at the Marine Corps Reserve Training Center at the military base in Ft. Dix, Burlington County.

According to federal prosecutors, Santos threatened to fire various employees who did not kick back a portion of their weekly paychecks. Employees who resisted were threatened with physical violence. When a supervisor on the Ft. Dix project began to ask questions, Santos paid $500 to have the man's pickup truck torched. In another incident, Santos ordered a driver to run the man down and paid $4,000 to the driver for repairs to the car. The man's injuries kept him off the base and unable to supervise Santos' actions.

Santos, sentenced to  85 months in prison, previously pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to obtain kickbacks from public works employees and causing persons to travel in interstate commerce to commit a crime of violence.

Contact Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com. Follow @samwoodiii on Twitter.
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