WASHINGTON – A former Major in the U.S. Army National Guard who was deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for receiving bribes from military contractors in exchange for fraudulently verifying the receipt of concrete bunkers and barriers that were never received, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division announced today.
Christopher P. West, of Chicago, was sentenced on Dec. 20, 2011, by U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly of the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. In addition to his prison term, West was sentenced to two years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution to the United States Department of Defense.
West pleaded guilty in June 2009 to a superseding indictment charging him with eight counts of bribery, conspiracy and fraud. According to court documents, West was deployed to Bagram Airfield from March 2004 until March 2005. West and Lieutenant Robert Moore had sole responsibility over ordering, receiving and verifying the receipt of bunkers and barriers at Bagram, which, at the time, served as the central receiving point for all bunkers and barriers in Afghanistan. West and Moore conspired with the bunker and barrier contractors at Bagram to fraudulently inflate the number of bunkers and barriers delivered to Bagram, and to profit in the resulting overpayments made by DOD.
According to court documents, the contractors fraudulently billed the DOD for bunkers and barriers never delivered to Bagram. West and Moore fraudulently verified on material inspection and receiving reports that the contractors had delivered the inflated number of bunkers and barriers. As a result, the contractors were able to receive payment for the falsely inflated number of bunkers and barriers. Upon receiving payment, the contractors paid West and Moore a portion of the money received.
In addition, according to the superseding indictment and other documents filed in this case, West, Moore and co-conspirator Sergeant Patrick Boyd awarded contracts to three different contractors in return for $30,000 each, which the conspirators split among themselves.
West is the eighth defendant sentenced in this investigation. Ten additional defendants remain to be sentenced, some in the Northern District of Illinois and others in the District of Hawaii.
West’s co-conspirators, Robert Moore and Patrick Boyd, were sentenced to 15 months and 40 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in this criminal activity. Sergeant Sheryl Ayeni was also sentenced recently to one year in prison for the receipt of $30,000 in return for her official acts as a vendor pay agent at Bagram during 2004 and 2005. Also arising from this investigation, John Mihalczo was sentenced to 15 months in prison for accepting approximately $115,000 in bribes at Bagram between 2003 and 2004.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Mark W. Pletcher of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section , and investigated by the Army Criminal Investigations Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Department of the Air Force, Office of Special Investigations, with assistance from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.