WASHINGTON – A former member of the U.S. Army employed by a private security firm was arrested at Miami International Airport today on charges of bribery, fraud and theft of government funds, in connection with the award of a contract to provide services to a U.S. government provincial reconstruction team in Farah, Afghanistan.
The arrest and charges were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Steven J Trent, Acting Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR); Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Zott of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Central Field Office; and Brigadier General Colleen McGuire, Provost Marshal General of the Army and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
Raul Borcuta was arrested in Miami today when he tried to enter the United States from Europe. Upon Borcuta’s arrest, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois unsealed a nine-count indictment charging Borcuta and his co-conspirators, Zachery Taylor and Jared Close, with mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, bribery and theft of government funds.
According to the indictment, Borcuta, 32, defrauded the U.S. government in connection with a contract to provide two up-armored sport utility vehicles to be used by an official in the government of Farah Province, Afghanistan, who had received death threats from insurgent groups. The indictment alleges that Borcuta bribed U.S. Army contracting officials Taylor, 40, and Close, 40, with $10,000 each to award him the contract and to make full payment to Borcuta before the vehicles were delivered. Taylor and Close, formerly U.S. Army staff sergeants assigned to the provincial reconstruction team in Farah, allegedly authorized a payment of approximately $200,000 in U.S. government funds to Borcuta. According to the indictment, Borcuta received the payment and never delivered the vehicles required by the contract.
The defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each mail fraud count, 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count, 30 years in prison for each conspiracy count, 15 years in prison for each bribery count and 10 years in prison for each theft of government funds count.
An indictment is merely a charge and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case was investigated by SIGAR, DCIS, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Brian R. Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois provided assistance in this investigation.