A Fairless Hills man and his company were charged yesterday in a scheme to bilk Uncle Sam by selling inferior metal to a U.S. Navy subcontractor that was helping to build submarines.

James R. Bullick, 42, and his company, Bristol Alloys, Inc., were charged by criminal information, a process in federal court that generally indicates the defendant intends to plead guilty.

Defense attorney Michael Diamondstein said Bullick and his company had cooperated with investigators and would continue to do so. "[Bullick] will do whatever he can to rectify this situation," Diamonstein said.

The charging document said Bullick and Bristol were in the business of selling metal to various customers, including a Navy subcontractor, Garvey Precision Machines, Inc., which supplied parts used to build Virginia Class submarines. (Garvey, of Willingboro, N.J., was not implicated in any wrongdoing.)

The alleged scheme occurred from at least 2004 until October 2009 and cost the government more than $1 million, the charging document said.

Authorities said the metal parts had to meet certain Navy specifications and requirements, including that the defendants document compliance with heat-treating requirements of the metals, which were used for the submarines' hulls.

The charging document said that Bullick and Bristol created phony heating-test certifications, which had been "falsely altered" to reflect heat treatments. Authorities said no such heat treating ever occurred.

If convicted of the single count of major fraud against the U.S., Bullick, who was president and half owner of Bristol, could face 37 to 46 months behind bars under advisory sentencing guidelines. Bristol, which is now defunct, could be fined as much as $5 million.