Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Justice Department alleges kickback scheme tied to Iraq munitions disposal contracts

The Huntsville Times  March 13, 2012

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — A series of multi-million contracts for munitions disposal in Iraq were used in a kickback scheme worth more than $1 million, and three men now face criminal charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Birmingham.

The scheme involved employees of an unnamed California-based prime contractor, awarding Iraq reconstruction work to subcontractors in exchange for payments, the Justice Department alleges.

The original contracts were issued as part of the Coalition Munitions Clearance Program, which is operated in Iraq by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville Engineering and Support Center, according to the Justice Department’s news release.

The Huntsville Engineering and Support’s operated the program to clear out, store and dispose of weapons that were seized or abandoned in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, the Justice Department said.

The HESC awarded a contract to perform this work to an international engineering and construction firm based in Pasadena, Calif.

Two employees of that company, Billy Joe Hunt, 57, of Athens and Gaines Newell, 52, of Richton, Miss., are charged with conspiracy in connection with kickbacks, wire fraud and mail fraud, and with filing false tax returns.

Both men have entered pleas by information and were not indicted.

Those pleas contend both men were involved in soliciting and receiving a total of more than $1 million in kickbacks.

A United Kingdom national, Ahmed Sarchil Kazzaz and his company, Leadstay Co., also face multiple charges. Kazzaz paid more than $947,500 in unlawful kickbacks to win lucrative subcontracts for himself and Leadstay in connection with the Coalition Munitions Clearance Program, the Justice Department said.

Kazzaz and Leadstay face one count of conspiracy to defraud and commit offenses against the United States; six counts of unlawful kickbacks; one count of wire fraud; and three counts of mail fraud. Kazzaz was arrested on Feb. 14, 2012, in Los Angeles.

“Government contracts fraud is an insult to all law-abiding taxpayers,” said Northern District of Alabama U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance. “These defendants’ conduct was even worse in that they tried to illegally profit from defense contracts in Iraq, where American men and women were willing to put their lives on the line for freedom.”

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March 13, 2012 Posted by | Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Government Contractor, Iraq, USACE | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DOJ U.S. Army Reserves Sergeant Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud the United States Related to Contracting in Support of Iraq War

Defendant Accepted $20,500 Related to the Processing of Bottled Water Invoices in Kuwait

Department of Justice  Office of Public Affairs   February 14, 2012

WASHINGTON – A sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States for receiving money from a local contractor in return for preferentially processing its invoices for payment outside of the proper procedures and protocols, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Sergeant Amasha M. King, 33, of Forsyth, Ga., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Marc T. Treadwell in Macon, Ga., to criminal information charging her with one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

According to the court documents filed in the Middle District of Georgia, Sergeant King served at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, from November 2004 to February 2006, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of the 374th Finance Battalion. While in Kuwait, King was responsible for receiving and processing pay vouchers and invoices from military contractors for various contracts and blanket purchase agreements (BPAs), including BPAs for bottled potable water. A BPA is a type of contract by which the DoD agrees to pay a contractor a specified price for a particular good or service. With King’s approval, the contractors were paid from the finance battalion, and in some instances, King was responsible for the issuance of U.S. government checks to those contractors.

According to the court documents, King agreed to receive money from a military contractor in return for defrauding the United States by preferentially processing the contractor’s invoices outside of the proper procedures and protocols for payment. This allowed the contractor to be paid much faster than usual and ultimately to bid for more contracts than it otherwise could have financed.

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February 15, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Wartime Contracting | , , , | Leave a comment

NV man accused of selling stolen US military ammo

The Associated Press at The Las Vegas Sun

Friday, June 10, 2011 | 2:45 p.m.

A former defense contractor employee has been indicted on charges that he conspired with others to steal U.S. military ammunition in Iraq and then sold it back to Iraqis and U.S. forces.

Chad Eric O’Kelley was released on his own recognizance after being arrested at his Carson City home and making an initial appearance Thursday. He faces federal charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and money laundering.

The indictment alleges O’Kelley was a manager in Baghdad with Minden-based defense contractor Security Operations Consulting in 2007 when he conspired with others to sell the ammo and send cash to the U.S. via Federal Express or couriers.

The 40-year-old man was ordered to appear in federal court in Texas, where he used to live in El Paso.

June 10, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Iraq | , , , , , | Leave a comment