WASHINGTON — A defense contractor, Raman International Inc. (Raman), pleaded guilty today for its role in a bribery scheme aimed at influencing the award of U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) contracts at Camp Victory, Iraq, the Department of Justice announced today.
Raman, a military contractor headquartered in Cypress, Texas, pleaded guilty to an indictment charging one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, filed on Jan. 23, 2008 in the U.S. District Court of Oklahoma City. Under the terms of its plea agreement, Raman has agreed to pay a criminal fine of $500,000, which is the maximum fine for a corporation charged with conspiracy, and pay restitution in the amount of $327,192 to DOD.
The Army procures goods and services in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, including critical infrastructure, technological components and construction services. Camp Victory is the primary component of the Victory Base Complex, which occupies the area surrounding the Baghdad International Airport.
"The Department of Justice will vigorously prosecute criminal conspiracies that target our military’s effort to obtain necessary goods and services," said Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department’s Antitrust Division.
Scott Hammond, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division, added, "It is noteworthy that this bribery scheme was detected by federal agents detailed to the Victory Base Complex in Iraq. We commend those agents and their domestic counterparts for the investigation that led to today’s guilty pleas."
According to the plea agreement filed today, a military officer received money and other items from Raman and Chidiac, including a new Harley Davidson motorcycle, in return for conveying sensitive information and fraudulently awarding contracts to Raman. Upon performance of these contracts, Chidiac received payment from DOD on Raman’s behalf and kicked back a portion of that profit to the military officer.
In January 2008, Elie Samir Chidiac, a former employee of Raman, was indicted on two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery in connection with the same activity, and is currently a fugitive.
Sharon E. Woods, Director, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, said, "It is unconscionable that while our service men and women are risking their lives in a combat zone protecting our national security, some of those entrusted with sustaining our troops are engaged in deceit that deprives our troops of the full support they deserve."
"I am shocked that anyone, in or out of uniform, could commit these criminal acts during a time of war when our service men and women need our support the most," added Brigadier General Rodney Johnson, the commanding general in charge of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. "Our Criminal Investigation Command Special Agents have a robust and highly effective presence in the contracting arena, both at home and abroad, and we will continue to pursue those who violate the law and the public’s trust."
Today’s charges represent the Department’s commitment to protecting U.S. taxpayers from procurement fraud through its creation of the National Procurement Fraud Task Force. The National Procurement Fraud Initiative, announced in Oct. 2006, is designed to promote the early detection, prosecution and prevention of procurement fraud associated with the increase in contracting activity for national security and other government programs.
This case is part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s National Criminal Enforcement Section (NCES) along with Special Agents from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (Army CID). Agents from U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are providing additional assistance to the investigation. Anyone with information concerning illegal conduct in the procurement of good or services in Iraq is urged to contact NCES at 202-307-6694 or firstname.lastname@example.org; DCIS at 800-424-9098 or email@example.com; or Army CID at www.cid.army.mil.