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Reports & Investigations Archive

Federal Court Orders U.S. Defense Contractor KBR To Stand Trial in Nepali Human Trafficking Case

Published: August 23, 2013

WASHINGTON — After a review of the evidence, a federal court today ordered the Nepali human trafficking case against Houston, Texas-based U.S. defense contractor KBR and its Jordanian subcontractor Daoud & Partners to proceed to trial. A trial date has been set for April 14, 2014. Lead plaintiffs counsel is Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.

The case involves 12 Nepali men, ages 18 to 27, who in 2004 were promised safe jobs in Jordan, but were instead involuntarily transported to Iraq. Eleven of the men were captured and killed by insurgents on the way to the U.S. Air Force base where they were to work. The plaintiffs’ complaint alleged that KBR knowingly violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The Court denied KBR’s motion that argued the plaintiffs did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

In his order, Judge Keith Ellison, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, wrote, “the proffered evidence shows that each man was deceived about his promised job; each man was promised a hotel-related job in Jordan; each man’s family took on significant debt in order to pay recruitment fees; when the men arrived in Jordan, they were subject to threats and harm; their passports were confiscated; and the men were locked into a compound and threatened.” Read the remainder of this entry »

Former Navy Engineer Pleads Guilty to Organizing and Managing Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Scheme; Associate Admits to Stealing Government Funds

Ralph  Mariano admits to defrauding U.S. Government of between $7 and $20 million  dollars; R.I.  Attorney Mary O’Rourke admits theft of over $200,000 of government funds

(DoJ) – PROVIDENCE,  R.I. – May 30, 2013 – Ralph M. Mariano, of Warwick, R.I., a former senior systems engineer  with the United States Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Newport,  R.I., and Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence,  R.I., today to conspiracy and to defrauding the U.S. Government of between $7  million and $20 million by directing co-conspirators to bill the Navy for work  that was never performed, announced Peter F. Neronha, United States Attorney  for the District of Rhode Island.

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Cindy Scharr – (Delaware County Daily Times) – Folcroft - May 30, 2013 – Authorities remain mum as to why federal agents raided the headquarters of defense contractor NP Precision on Thursday morning.

Investigators from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, with assistance from other federal law enforcement agencies and local police, swarmed the machine shop on Horne Drive at about 9 a.m.

A spokesman for the Army CID, which is based in Quantico, Va., confirmed it, along with several other federal law enforcement agencies, is conducting an investigation involving NP Precision, but declined to release additional information.

“To protect the integrity of the investigative process, we are not releasing any further information at this time,” said Chris Grey, chief of public affairs for the USA CID.

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Sex is major reason military commanders are fired

Posted January 20, 2013 By Forseti

WASHINGTON (AP) — Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, fired from his command in Afghanistan last May and now facing a court-martial on charges of sodomy, adultery and pornography and more, is just one in a long line of commanders whose careers were ended because of possible sexual misconduct.

Sex has proved to be the downfall of presidential candidates, members of Congress, governors and other notables. It’s also among the chief reasons that senior military officers are fired.

At least 30 percent of military commanders fired over the past eight years lost their jobs because of sexually related offenses, including harassment, adultery, and improper relationships, according to statistics compiled by The Associated Press.

The figures bear out growing concerns by Defense Department and military leaders over declining ethical values among U.S. forces, and they highlight the pervasiveness of a problem that came into sharp relief because of the resignation of one of the Army’s most esteemed generals, David Petraeus, and the investigation of a second general, John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

The statistics from all four military services show that adulterous affairs are more than a four-star foible. From sexual assault and harassment to pornography, drugs and drinking, ethical lapses are an escalating problem for the military’s leaders.

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Ernesto Londoño – (The Washington Post) – January 19, 2013 – George Lee, a Kuwait-based U.S. defense contractor who was reaping millions as America’s quagmire in Iraq deepened, sent an e-mail to an Army major who awarded bids in Baghdad, warning her not to visit him.

“None of us want Uncle Sam, or anyone else, looking where they should not be looking,” he wrote in one of the trove of messages and intercepted phone calls that exposed the biggest fraud conspiracy from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So far, 22 people have been indicted and $67 million has been recovered in that single scheme, which remains under investigation.

But the little-known agency that uncovered the scam is about to close its doors, even though Lee remains a fugitive and 91 additional criminal investigations into the disappearance of Iraq reconstruction funds remain unsolved. Read the remainder of this entry »

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