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Donald Garst sentenced to 30 months for smuggling kickbacks from Bagram to US

Former Department of Defense Contractor Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Smuggling Kickback Proceeds from Afghanistan to the United States

Donald Garst, 51, who was in the Army for 4 years and the National Guard for 23 years, was a manager for a private sector contracting company doing business with the U.S. at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.  His job was to evaluate subcontracts awarded to Afghan companies.  Garst met Abdul Mukhtar Abdul Kubar (Mukhtar), the owner of an Afghan contracting company and agreed to steer subcontracts to Mukhtar in exchange for money.  Garst agreed to receive $610,000 in kickbacks, but only actually received $210,000. The scheme was discovered when Garst attempted to send $150,000 in cash to his ex-wife via DHL overnight service.  The package was confiscated and Garst quickly confessed to the kickback scheme.   ~Sending Your Ex-Wife a Package of Cash from Afghanistan May Get You in Trouble 

DoJ – February 12, 2013 – A former employee of a Department of Defense contracting company at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, was sentenced today to serve 30 months in prison for attempting to smuggle $150,000 in kickback proceeds he received for steering U.S. government subcontracts to an Afghan company, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom of the District of Kansas.

One of them, AC FIRST theatre RPAT (redistribution property accountability team) manager Don Garst, said, “Jason Welch was the best Instructor that I have had in 29 years of military service or as a contractor. ~ California-based National Crane Training was recruited to provide NCCCO training and testing for crane operators at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan

Under this task order, the AECOM-CACI Technologies Inc. joint venture, AC FIRST LLC., will provide tactical vehicle and equipment maintenance, facilities management and maintenance, supply and inventory management, and transportation services in support of the 3-401st Army Field Support Brigade at multiple locations across Afghanistan. The task order continues a program currently held and performed by AECOM for nearly five years. ~AECOM joint venture awarded maintenance and supply services task order worth up to US$378 million over five years

Donald Gene Garst, 51, of Topeka, Kan., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson in Topeka.  In addition to his prison term, Garst was sentenced to serve one year of supervised release and was ordered to pay a fine of $52,117.  The department previously forfeited the $150,000 Garst had attempted to smuggle into the United States.

Garst pleaded guilty on Nov. 9, 2012, to a one-count information charging him with bulk cash smuggling.  According to court documents, Garst was employed by a private U.S. company that was contracted by the U.S. government and its armed forces at Bagram Airfield from January 2009 to May 2011.  Garst was involved in identifying, evaluating and monitoring subcontracts awarded to Afghan companies by his employer, and he used his position to meet executives of an Afghan construction company called Somo Logistics.  Garst then entered into an agreement with the Afghans under which he would receive kickback payments on a contract-by-contract basis in return for treating Somo Logisitcs favorably in the contracting process.

In December 2010, Garst accepted a kickback for $60,000 on the first subcontract awarded to Somo Logistics.  The subcontract was for the term lease of heavy equipment meant to be used for construction on Bagram Airfield.  Garst hand-carried approximately $20,000 of the kickback proceeds into the United States, and he received the remainder via a series of structured wire transfers from Somo Logistics executives.

In May 2011, Garst accepted a $150,000 kickback for a second subcontract for the lease of heavy construction equipment.  Garst shipped the $150,000 in cash to the United States, and his failure to declare the value of the shipment was discovered by law enforcement.

Garst had further agreed to receive $400,000 on a third subcontract, but his scheme was discovered by law enforcement before he could receive that payment.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Maag and Trial Attorney Wade Weems of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.  The case was investigated by Special Agents with the Army Criminal Investigations Division and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, with assistance from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction and the FBI. (Click HERE for original article)

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