WASHINGTON – A Houston woman pleaded guilty today to bribery charges for her role in a scheme to fraudulently bill the U.S. Army for trucking services in Afghanistan, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Diyana Montes, 29, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg in the District of Columbia to one count of bribery.
According to court documents, from approximately April 2008 through December 2008, Montes was an employee of Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), a private contractor with operations in Afghanistan. Montes worked at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, where KBR held a contract with the United States.
KBR’s contract involved providing services to the Army’s Movement Control Branch (MCB). The MCB’s mission was to contract with local Afghan trucking companies to transport U.S. military equipment, fuel and other supplies throughout Afghanistan. As part of this mission, the MCB coordinated requests from various U.S. military units for trucking services and assigned those requests to particular contractors. Each trucking request generated various specific documents, including “transportation movement requests” (TMR), which authorized the use of trucks.
According to court documents, Montes’s duties included receiving TMRs from various contractors and reconciling any discrepancies between the amount of services described in the TMRs and the amount of services the contractors claimed in their invoices. Once Montes reviewed the documents and determined they were accurate, she would pass them on to other contracting personnel, who would rely on her review in approving payments to the trucking company.
On numerous occasions, according to court documents, Montes received and reviewed TMRs and invoices for services allegedly provided by Afghanistan Trade Transportation (ATT), a trucking company contracted by the U.S. Army, that fraudulently represented that ATT provided services that Montes knew were not in fact performed. According to Montes’s plea agreement, she knew the invoices from ATT contained service claims that were not accurate, and she passed them along for payment with the knowledge that the billings were fraudulent.
According to her plea agreement, from approximately May 2008 through December 2008, in return for her knowingly handling the fraudulent TMRs and invoices, Montes received from ATT approximately $50,000, consisting of $35,000 wired to her personal bank account in the United States and another $15,000 in cash paid to her on several occasions in Afghanistan.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Trial Attorney Mark H. Dubester of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and former Fraud Section Trial Attorney Mark Pletcher, currently of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. The case was investigated by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI.