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Blog 47 USMC 20150725 Web of War-zone Fraud Unraveled

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The culture of corruption in Iraq and Kuwait is not an isolated incident. Records of corruption and investigation tell the same thing - Selfish Acts of Greed. Federal small business contracts are not pay-to-play. Corruption, bribery and deceitful actions will be rooted out of the US military contracting system. Those who will be found guilty of fraud, bribery and corruption will be brought to justice.
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  • 1. Web of war-zone fraud unraveled http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/Documents_offe... Sign In | Register Site Yellow Pages Calendar Archives Web Search by Yahoo! keyword or search term NEWS SPORTS SPURS BUSINESS LIFE A&E FOOD OBITS BLOGS WEATHER COLUMNISTS | OPINION | WEATHER | TRAFFIC | EDUCATION | POLITICS | RELIGION | STORIES | Web Posted: 09/07/2008 12:00 CDT Web of war-zone fraud unraveled READ comments (3) By Guillermo Contreras - Express-News RSS | EMAIL | PRINT | SAVE The staggering fraud orchestrated by Army Maj. John Cockerham festered for at least two years in piles of contract paperwork at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. The usual layers of military bureaucrats and lawyers that might have caught the misconduct were practically nonexistent there. Companies that had done little or no work for the American government before the war in Iraq suddenly were cropping up in the Middle East and opening “offices” or shells in the United States. But no one checked to make sure the companies existed beyond the names on paper. Soldiers handing out lucrative military work to those contractors suddenly had brand-new bank accounts with handsome balances in locations across the globe. Military officials were clueless. For several years, starting in late 2003, the Pentagon paid out tens of millions of dollars to get supplies to troops in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, and unwittingly lined the pockets of these soldiers. It wasn't until tips and complaints from other contractors — or audits by outside agencies — forced investigations that turned up clues of separate, but often linked, corruption schemes and gave the military an idea of the magnitude of the graft. The clues, a San Antonio Express-News investigation found, include a ledger by Cockerham's sister that listed bribery suspects under codenames like “Mr. and Mrs. Pastry.” It was in this environment of understaffed, undertrained and undersupervised contracting officers that Cockerham operated. “When workload surges and/or staffing shortfalls occur, (our) system of checks and balances is put under stress and opportunities for mistakes and abuse of the system increase,” Donald Bibby, a spokesman for the Army Contracting Agency, the wing Cockerham worked under, said by e-mail. Almost three years after Cockerham returned to San Antonio, federal investigators have identified at least $125.5 million in tainted contracts for bottled water that Cockerham, based at Fort Sam Houston, steered to companies in Kuwait as part of a scheme to collect $15 million in kickbacks, documents show. Cockerham and three other contracting officers who worked with him, succeeded him or preceded him also are accused of directing millions in contracts for potable water, latrine maintenance, gray water removal and warehouse work to the firms. They might amount to just a sliver of the problem. Ongoing investigations — 124 of them — are focusing on several current or former officers who served in Kuwait or Iraq, civilian employees, contractors and many of their friends and relatives. “The investigations involve 286 people, both U.S. and foreign personnel,” Gordon Heddell, the Defense Department's acting inspector general, testified before Congress on July 23. “Much more is anticipated as investigations ready for prosecution mount.” Companies pay to play Until now, the names of most of the companies suspected of supplying the bribes in the Cockerham case, or agreeing to pay kickbacks, had been kept secret. But the Express-News obtained law enforcement reports that identify eight companies being investigated over allegations that they bribed Cockerham. He pleaded guilty in February to bribery and money laundering and remains in jail in San Antonio while awaiting sentencing. The documents also pinpoint five of the same contractors as bribing Cockerham's accomplice, Army Maj. James Momon Jr., who pleaded guilty Aug. 13 in Washington to trying to collect $5.8 million in bribes. Neither major had collected all the kickbacks but planned to do so for pushing through more than 100 contract actions to the companies. The companies include subsidiaries or affiliates of a wealthy developer from India, Dewa Projects Private Ltd.; an American-owned business operating in Kuwait, Lee Dynamics International; a large Saudi Arabian construction and logistics contractor, Allied Arms Company Ltd.; and Total Government Allegiance/Freedom Consulting & Catering/U.S. Eagles Services Corp., companies that prosecutors claim are interwoven and run by Terry Hall, a former Army sergeant-turnedcontractor. The other firms are identified as Trans Orient General Trading; Zenith Enterprises Ltd.; Al Ghannam & Nair General Trading and Contracting; Jireh Springs; and Jasmine International, all of Kuwait. None of the companies has been charged with a crime, but Justice Department prosecutors reindicted Hall on Friday on charges that he bribed Momon and others. Hall is awaiting trial in Washington. According to Cockerham, Allied Arms, Zenith, Green Valley, Falah Al Ajmi (of Trans Orient) and Hall paid him bribes. And JOBS AUTOS REAL ESTATE CLASSIFIEDS advertise here MOST COMMENTED 1. Cowboys game unavailable on Time Warner 2. Mom happy her son is in national spotlight 3. Bexar Democrats' woes mount 4. Spurs still upbeat on offseason investments 5. Woman sexually assaulted in West Side park 6. White America's majority to end later 7. Immigration reform is back in spotlight 8. Days later, Spurs still fixated on Suns 9. Warning signs missed at every step in custody case 10. Your Turn – Dec. 18, 2009 MOST VIEWED 1. South Padre Island Implosion 2. River Walk Lights 3. Boeing 787 takes 1st flight 4. Faith the two-legged dog 5. Cowboys game unavailable on Time Warner 6. Manny Castillo's Casket 7. Celeb Photos, Dec. 13-19, 2009 8. Liberty Bar Plans to Relocate 9. HS Schedule Search - Newsengin 10. Texas coastal wildlife autos view all 1 of 2 12/19/2009 1:14 PM Web of war-zone fraud unraveled http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/Documents_offe... Related documents Read Cockerham's handwritten ledgers. Read part one of the Cockerham investigation. Read part two of the Cockerham investigation. Read part three of the Cockerham investigation. Read part four of the Cockerham investigation. Yahoo! Buzz
  • 2. 2 of 2 12/19/2009 1:14 PM
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