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Louisiana Man, “Mark” McCabe, Arrested on Charges of Receiving Illegal Kickbacks in Afghanistan

Elton Mark McCabe, a Slidell businessman recently freed from a prison in South Sudan, was arrested Thursday on charges of receiving illegal kickbacks and wire fraud in connection with his work as a private contractor in Afghanistan in 2009. McCabe, 52, is former vice president of a company that received subcontracts for U.S. government projects in rebuilding efforts in Kandahar, Afghanistan, according to a news release from the Department of Justice. ~Katherine Sayre - The Times-Picayune

“I’m very excited that Mark McCabe is finally getting out of South Sudan after being held there with no just cause since mid-October,” Vitter said.~Press Release – Office of Senator David Vitter

(DoJ) – WASHINGTON – November 12, 2012 – The former vice president of a construction company doing work in Afghanistan was arrested today on allegations of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in gratuities from subcontractors during his employment in Afghanistan, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana and unsealed today charges Elton Maurice “Mark” McCabe III, 53, of Slidell, La., with one count of receiving illegal kickbacks and one count of wire fraud.

McCabe said he worked as a private contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq, beginning in 2004, doing construction at military bases. Once his job in Iraq ended, he heard other contractors talking about a country with new investment opportunities: South Sudan. McCabe partnered with an Iraqi friend, Mohammed Oglah, to explore business there, he said.~The Times-Picayune

McCabe and Oglah, who run a construction and consulting company called Diamond Corp. ~Bloomberg Businessweek

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U.S. Army Master Sergeant, Julio Soto Jr., Pleads Guilty to Defrauding U.S. Government

Dining Facility sign – FOB Hammer

(DoJ) – WASHINGTON – August 29, 2012 – A U.S. Army master sergeant pleaded guilty today to accepting thousands of dollars in gratuities from contractors during his deployment to Iraq as a field ordering officer at a forward operating base in Iraq, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina William N. Nettles.

Julio Soto Jr., 52, of Columbus, Ga., pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Chief Judge Margaret B. Seymour in the District of South Carolina to a criminal information charging him with one count of conspiracy to accept illegal gratuities. 

According to court documents, Soto was a master sergeant in the U.S. Army, deployed to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Hammer in Iraq, as a field ordering officer (FOO), a public official.  FOO funds are used to purchase miscellaneous items and supplies such as paint, lumber and plywood from local vendors.  It is a violation of federal law for field ordering officers to accept gratuities from contractors dependent upon them for contracts.

In or about March 2007 through October 2008, Soto, along with an alleged U.S. Army co-conspirator, was involved with the construction of a government building at FOB Hammer by local Iraqi contractors.  Soto and his alleged co-conspirator unlawfully sought, received and accepted illegal gratuities for helping Iraqi contractors gain U.S. government contracts, and then purchased U.S. Postal money orders with the illegal proceeds and mailed them back to the United States.

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Vanishing acts and other news

Tracking Gaddafi: The case against the Canadian accused of aiding a dictator’s son
Stewart Bell – (National Post) –  MEXICO CITY – March 24, 2012 –  When a dictatorship falls, the old regime takes flight.

And so when Colonel Muammar Gaddafi began losing his grip on Libya last year, a mixed bag of friends, allies and profiteers went to work planning exile for those close to him.

A town near Puerto Vallarta was the soft landing chosen for Saadi Gaddafi, the dictator’s hedonistic third son and head of the Libyan Special Forces. To get him there, according to Mexican officials, properties were purchased, planes were rented and passports were forged.

But if there was such a plot, it was a spectacular flop. Because instead of wading in the Pacific surf, Mr. Gaddafi ended up in Niger, a landlocked sandbox, while the Canadian, Dane and two Mexicans accused of orchestrating his escape are behind bars.

Because of Mexico’s closed legal system, few details of the case have been officially released. But documents obtained by the National Post reveal the events leading up to the arrests of Canadian Cynthia Vanier, who has denied the allegations, and her co-accused.

The paper trail identifies for the first time the international team of private security contractors that left Canada with Ms. Vanier last year in a small jet, destined for Col. Gaddafi’s collapsing capital. But it also raises doubts about the reliability of the evidence presented in court by Mexican authorities — in particular a central witness with a criminal past.

Aside from a stint negotiating for the release of hostages in Colombia, Ms. Vanier, a mediator from Mount Forest, Ont., had no apparent experience in war zones when she was hired to write a report on Libya, then five months into an armed revolt against its brutal, erratic dictator.

SNC-Lavalin, the Montreal-based engineering and construction company, said it contracted her “in the interest of the safety and security of our personnel and operations when we will need to go back to Libya to complete our projects.”

A chain of emails shows planning got underway on July 12, 2011. Gregory Gillispie, who runs a San Diego airplane brokerage, was asked by Loren Berenda, a former employee of U.S. security giant DynCorp, in Illinois, to find a jet to transport the Canadian and her entourage. (Click HERE for article)

Pressure Mounts for Transparency in Pfc. Manning’s Court-Martial
Adam Klasfeld – (Courthouse News) – MANHATTAN – March 22, 2012 – A lawyer from a civil libertarian group representing Wikileaks and Julian Assange urged a military judge to release records related to the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged source for the biggest leak in U.S. history.

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Former USACE program manager Michael A. Alexander & contractor plead guilty to kickback scheme

Former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Manager Pleads Guilty in Alleged $20 Million Bribery and Kickback Scheme Scam Involved Steering of Government Contracts; Contractor Also Pleads Guilty to Charges Today

(DoJ) – WASHINGTON – February 13, 2012 – Michael A. Alexander, 55, a former program manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, pled guilty today to federal charges of bribery and conspiracy to commit money laundering in a scheme that allegedly involved more than $20 million in bribes and kickback payments and the planned steering of a $780 million government contract.

The plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Peggy E. Gustafson, Inspector General for the Small Business Administration (SBA); Robert E. Craig, Special Agent in Charge of the Mid-Atlantic Field Office of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS); Eric Hylton, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and James K. Podolak, Director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s (CID) Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU).

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No complaints here & other news

"Say anything & you'll be on the 1st thing smokin" - "Chicken or pasta" - "Aisle or Window"

 …“God will forgive you, but the bureaucracy never will.”
This is an appropriate warning for civil servants who would report contractor fraud against the military, one of our nation’s more popular corporate pastimes.  Be prepared for the Pentagon to side with the crooked contractor and fire you.  No bureaucrat can afford to have fraud discovered on his watch. It’s bad for the career.

And if you happen to work for the crook, it’s even worse.  Not only will you be fired, but you will never find another job in the industry.  If the crook is the government itself — say, one of the security agencies — you will doubtless be prosecuted. And if the crook is a corporation, you’ll likely be sued. ~ William A. Collins, The Reporter

The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to Read
Michael Hastings – (Rolling Stone) – February 10, 2012 – Earlier this week, the New York Times’ Scott Shane published a bombshell piece about Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis, a 17-year Army veteran recently returned from a second tour in Afghanistan. According to the Times, the 48-year-old Davis had written an 84-page unclassified report, as well as a classified report, offering his assessment of the decade-long war. That assessment is essentially that the war has been a disaster and the military’s top brass has not leveled with the American public about just how badly it’s been going. “How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?” Davis boldly asks in an article summarizing his views in The Armed Forces Journal.

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