Elbert Westley George III, 36, a U.S. Army captain who was stationed in Iraq, pleaded guilty today to participating in a scheme to steal U.S. government equipment and sell it to a local Iraqi businessman. In a related case, Roy Greene Jr., a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army who was also in Iraq with George, pleaded guilty on May 13, 2009, to participating with George in the same scheme.
George, of Suffolk, Va., and Greene, 32, of Sylvester, Ga., entered their guilty pleas in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., before U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Bruce Lee. Both men pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information charging them with conspiracy to defraud the Department of Defense (DOD) and to commit theft of government property from the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) located at Joint Base Balad in Balad, Iraq. According to plea documents, the United States owns and operates DRMO in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. DRMO disposes of excess property received from the military services. DRMO inventory includes items such as air conditioners, generators, cars, trucks and trailers. The items are first offered for reutilization within DOD but they can also be donated to state or local governments, or to the Iraqi military. DRMO equipment can also be sold, with the proceeds from those sales returning to the federal government.
According to their plea agreements, George and Greene had logistics responsibilities for their unit and had the authority to check out equipment from DRMO to fulfill those responsibilities. In their pleas, both Greene and George admit that between December 2007 and June 2008, they abused that authority by stealing equipment from DRMO and selling it to a local Iraqi businessman. George and Greene admitted to stealing one bus, eight trucks, 19 generators, five trailers and several other items from DRMO. They admit to personally profiting at least $400,000 from their illegal sales.
At sentencing on July 17, 2009, George and Greene both face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Steve A. Linick and Trial Attorney Brigham Cannon of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section. The investigation of this case is being conducted by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, FBI, Army Criminal Investigative Division, and members of the National Procurement Fraud Task Force and the International Contract Corruption Task Force (ICCTF). The National Procurement Fraud Task Force, created in October 2006 by the Department of Justice, was designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in government contracting activity for national security and other government programs. The ICCTF is a joint law enforcement agency task force that seeks to detect, investigate and dismantle corruption and contract fraud resulting from U.S. Overseas Contingency Operations, including in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.