WASHINGTON – A former U.S. Army Reserve Major was sentenced to serve 70 months in prison and to pay $825,000 in restitution to the United States after pleading guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges involving U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) contracts at Camp Victory, Iraq, the Department of Justice announced today.
Theresa Jeanne Baker pleaded guilty to the charges on Dec. 22, 2008. According to the charging document, Baker participated in two separate conspiracies. In the first conspiracy Baker received money and other items from Elie Samir Chidiac and Raman International Inc., which does business as Raman Corporation. In return, Baker conveyed sensitive information and fraudulently awarded military contracts to Raman. Upon performance of these contracts, Chidiac received payment from the DOD on Raman’s behalf and kicked back a portion of that profit to Baker. In the second conspiracy, Baker canceled military contracts for various telecommunications items that were awarded to third party contractors and fraudulently re-awarded them to Chidiac. Baker then authorized Chidiac to receive cash payments for those contracts, despite the fact that Chidiac neither delivered any goods nor performed any services. In return, Chidiac gave a portion of the money back to Baker.
Chidiac was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery in an indictment unsealed on Jan. 28, 2008, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. Raman was charged in the same indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. Raman pleaded guilty to the charges on June 3, 2008, and was sentenced to pay a $500,000 criminal fine on Jan. 30, 2009. Charges remain pending against Chidiac, who is currently a fugitive.
Today’s proceedings are an example of the Department of Justice’s commitment to protect U.S. taxpayers from procurement fraud through the National Procurement Fraud Task Force. The National Procurement Fraud Initiative, announced in October 2006, is designed to promote the early detection, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in contracting activity for national security and other government programs.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s National Criminal Enforcement Section (NCES), along with Special Agents from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Tulsa Resident Agency and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (Army CID), Dallas Resident Agency. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and agents from the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are providing additional assistance to the investigation. Anyone with information concerning bid rigging, bribery or other criminal conduct in the procurement of goods or services in Iraq is urged to contact the NCES at 202-307-6694; DCIS at 800-424-9098 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Army CID atwww.cid.army.mil.