Former Army Major Eddie Pressley and wife Eurica found guilty on 22 charges
It took a federal jury in Alabama less than a day to convict a former US Army major and his wife of 22 counts of bribery, fraud, conspiracy and money-laundering on Tuesday.
Maj. Eddie Pressley and his wife Eurica, of Harvest, Ala., were accused of accepting $2.8 million in bribes between 2004 and 2006. Now, each faces a maximum sentence of 75 years in prison, US officials said.
The case against the Pressleys arose from a corruption probe focusing on Camp Arifjan, a US military base in Kuwait. The Pressleys were the first people in the case to go to trial.
Previously, 14 people had pleaded guilty to a mix of charges. Eight were former officers or enlisted personnel.
The case arose from what investigators called a free-wheeling culture of bribe-making and bribe-taking in Kuwait during the run-up to the US’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. Over three years, Arifjan contracting officers supervised activities ranging from base construction to transporting newly arrived soldiers to awarding millions of dollars in contracts for bottled water.
In December 2006, Army Maj. Gloria Dean Davis was detained for questioning in Baghdad over $225,000 that investigators found in the contracting officer’s overseas bank accounts. Davis agreed to cooperate, investigators say, but never did. She committed suicide with her gun within hours of being debriefed. Her suicide spurred a slew of search warrants, leading to several arrests.
Pressley was one of four Arifjan majors implicated in the probe. He was charged with conspiring with retired Army Sgt. Terry Hall to rig bottled-water bids as well as contracts to provide gravel and chain-link fencing. The two suspects acquired a $5 million parcel of land in Muscle Shoals, Ala., to develop as a resort property, according to evidence presented at trial.
Hall pleaded guilty in the case and testified against his former partner. At least two more senior officers are cooperating with investigators and are also expected to be charged, according to US officials. (click HERE for original article)