WASHINGTON – The former president of Lee Dynamics International, a defense contractor providing services to the U.S. military in Iraq, pleaded guilty today to an indictment charging him with a scheme to bribe military officials in order to obtain government contracts, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.
Justin W. Lee, 33, a resident of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joel H. Slomsky in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and four counts of bribery. Lee and his father, George H. Lee Jr., were charged in an indictment unsealed on May 27, 2011, in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Justin Lee admitted that he conspired with his father and others to bribe military contracting officers in order to obtain government contracts to support U.S. combat operations in Iraq. According to court documents, Justin Lee provided things of value, including cash, airline tickets, meals, hotel stays, spa visits and jobs, which were valued at a total of more than $1.2 million, to public officials in return for official acts which helped him obtain lucrative Department of Defense contracts. The contracts included multi-million dollar contracts for the storage of weapons at various warehouses in Iraq as well as bottled water.
“For Justin Lee and others, bribery was a way of doing business,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “He offered military officials vacations to Thailand and Europe, Rolex watches, cash, and even employment with their company, all in order to secure lucrative defense contracts. Private contractors will not be allowed to win business by stacking the deck against the competition and, as this investigation shows, the military officials who participate in such fraudulent schemes will also be held to account.”
“Justin Lee’s guilty plea is a prime example of the teamwork amongst Special Agents of the Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU), US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), our law enforcement partner agencies, and with the DOJ attorneys that comprised the former Kuwait Fraud Task Force,” said James K. Podolak, director of Army CID’s MPFU. “Charged with protecting the Army’s interests with respect to contract fraud and corruption, in a global environment, the MPFU stands ready with Special Agents strategically assigned throughout the U.S. and abroad to bring these criminals to justice.”
“This plea illustrates that it does not matter where they reside, work, or travel, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service will not stop pursuing those individuals who steal funds from the Department of Defense and U.S. Taxpayers” said Robert Craig, Special Agent in Charge for the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Mid-Atlantic Field Office.
“I am pleased that Justin Lee pleaded guilty to the bribery charges filed against him for the abusive and illegal contracting schemes he engineered as a private contractor in Iraq,” said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. “I commend my SIGIR agents and our partners for persevering in this complex case, which is part of perhaps the largest fraud conspiracy yet uncovered in the reconstruction program.”
Four of the military contracting officials with whom Justin Lee conspired have pleaded guilty: John Cockerham Jr., Markus McClain, Kevin A. Davis and Levonda Selph.
Justin Lee faces up to 15 years in prison for each count of bribery, as well as a fine of $250,000 or three times the value of the bribe for each count. He also faces up to five years in prison for the conspiracy count as well as a fine of $250,000.
George Lee, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Lee Dynamics International, remains at large. An indictment is merely a charge and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Richard B. Evans of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Trial Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher and Emily W. Allen of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Substantial assistance has been provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The case is being investigated by the Army Criminal Investigations Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, the FBI, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security and the Internal Revenue Service.