Blackwater, covert crime and the 100k belt buckle in the news
No Afghan trip for 2 ex-Blackwater defendants
NORFOLK – July 31, 2010 – A federal judge said Friday he will allow a videotaped deposition of an Afghan doctor in the murder case against two former Blackwater security guards. Siding with the government, he ruled against sending the defendants to Afghanistan for the testimony.
The former Blackwater workers, Christopher Drotleff of Virginia Beach and Justin Cannon of Corpus Christi, Texas, are charged with killing two Afghan citizens and wounding a third after a traffic accident in Kabul in May 2009.
The government contends the two left an Army base without permission and had been drinking that day. Drotleff and Cannon say they fired in self-defense when the Afghans charged at them in a vehicle. (Click HERE for article)
Court rules man has paid restitution
Lynne Hendricks – July 31, 2010 – AMESBURY — A U.S. District Court judge ruled this week that Amesbury resident Paul Arguin, 47, has satisfied his restitution to the U.S. government and should not be liable for the full $3.2 million he was sentenced to pay after pleading guilty to charges of fraud while a consultant for the Air Force.
The former longtime School Committee member has turned over approximately $700,000 to $800,000 in restitution to date, according to the indictment. According to a judge considering Arguin’s request to deem the debt satisfied, that amount is sufficient to compensate the government, given it received a $15 million settlement from Arguin’s employer Dynamic Research Corporations in a related civil suit.
Arguin served a five-year jail sentence for improperly profiting from a U.S. Air Force contract by setting up corporations to sell and resell computer storage devices to the government and directing the business to corporations he and his boss had interests in, according to the indictment.
Arguin and his boss, Victor J. Garber, 63, formerly of North Andover were indicted in 2000, charged with 49 counts of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, wire fraud and aiding and abetting in violation of U.S. law, among other charges. It was asserted the two used their positions as technology consultants to the Air Force employed by defense contractor DRC to divert government procurement funds for personal use. (Click HERE for article)
Civilian charged in reservist’s 2009 death
Bob Kalinowski (Staff Writer) – July 30, 2010 – Federal authorities have charged a former civilian contractor for the U.S. Army in connection with a vehicle crash in Kuwait that killed a Navy reservist from Nanticoke and severely wounded another serviceman from Wilkes-Barre.
Morgan Hanks, 25, was arrested Tuesday in Newport News, Va., on charges related to a two-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury in Norfolk, Va., on July 13.
The indictment, which was sealed until the arrest, charges Hanks with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian Patton, 37, of Nanticoke, and assault for critically wounding Petty Officer 2nd Class Dave Morgan, 35, of Wilkes-Barre.
Authorities claim Hanks was speeding down a two-lane road in a Kuwaiti desert on Nov. 19, 2009, when he attempted to pass an eight-vehicle military convoy at the crest of a hill.
Hanks’ vehicle then violently crashed head-on into the vehicle occupied by Patton and Morgan.
Hanks was employed as a K-9 handler for Combat Support Associates, which held contracts with the U.S. Army. The company was contracted to provide site security and force protection at U.S. Army bases in Kuwait, according to the indictment. (Click HERE for article)
Freight Forwarder Panalpina Pays U.S. $375,000 to Settle False Claims and Kickbacks Allegations
July 30, 2010 – WASHINGTON. – Swiss-based freight forwarder Panalpina Inc. has agreed to pay the United States $375,000 to settle allegations that the company paid kickbacks to employees of Kellogg Brown & Root Inc. (KBR). The kickbacks, which related to shipping orders issued in connection with KBR’s contract with the U.S. Army to provide logistical support to the U.S. military in Iraq and elsewhere, are alleged to violate the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Act.
The settlement resolves allegations that Panalpina provided kickbacks in the form of meals, drinks, tickets to sports events and golf outings to employees in KBR’s transportation department in order to gain favorable treatment on subcontracts under the U.S. military’s Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP III). Under the LOGCAP III contract, KBR was to provide logistical support for U.S. military operations abroad.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Panalpina will pay the United States $375,000 to resolve its potential liability under the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Act and common law theories. The United States previously settled claims with Eagle Global Logistics (EGL) (now CEVA) related to the same lawsuit for a total of $5,050,000. The government is continuing to pursue claims against KBR based on its employees taking kickbacks from Panalpina and EGL. (Click HERE for article)
Jury to deliberate fate of accused spy
Nelson Daranciang – July 30, 2010 – Jurors in the espionage trial of Noshir S. Gowadia were to begin deliberating this morning on the fate of the engineer who touts himself as the “father of the B-2 bomber,” the premier U.S. warplane.
Gowadia, 66, is facing charges that he used classified U.S. defense information obtained in his decades of experience working for giant defense contractor Northrup Corp. (now Northrup Grumman Corp.), and as an independent contractor, to help the Chinese government develop a cruise missile capable of evading heat-seeking air-to-air missiles.
He is also facing charges that he sent classified B-2 information to the Swiss government and businesses in Israel and Germany, as well as money laundering and tax evasion.
The jurors sat through 39 days of testimony over 3 1/2 months. Because of the nature of the charges, much of the testimony involved technical information about the infrared energy emitted by jet engines and different methods for making them less susceptible to detection by heat-seeking devices.
In closing arguments yesterday, federal prosecutor Kenneth Sorenson used secret e-mail correspondence between Gowadia, a business associate and someone who the government believes is a Chinese intelligence officer to show how Gowadia became involved with the Chinese and the work he did for them in 2004 and 2005.