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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 26, 2014

Two Individuals Plead Guilty To Conspiring To Launder Bribes Received In Afghanistan

Memphis, TN – Jimmy W. Dennis, 44, formerly of Clarksville, TN, and James C. Pittman, 45 of Rossville, GA, have each pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging conspiracy to launder approximately $250,000 in bribe payments received from Afghan contractors in Afghanistan, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee Edward L. Stanton III; and United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee William C. Killian.

According to facts revealed in each criminal information and during the respective plea hearings, Dennis, a former First Sergeant with the United States Army, was assigned to the Humanitarian Aid Yard at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. He served as a paying agent from March 2008 until his return to his home base at Fort Campbell, KY.

Together with a Project Purchasing Officer (PPO), Dennis worked as a team to procure supplies from local Afghan contractors. These supplies were used as part of the Commander’s Emergency Response Program for urgent humanitarian relief requirements in Afghanistan.

Soon after he began working as a paying agent, an Afghan interpreter offered Dennis a $10,000 bribe/kickback to accept certain Afghan contractors onto the list of eligible contractors. Dennis accepted the money and later accepted bribe payments from a second interpreter to allow additional vendors onto the list of eligible contractors. Dennis estimated that he personally received about $250,000 in bribes.

Dennis smuggled the money home through the U.S. Mail through a variety of means including sending home “jingle trucks” (colorfully decorated trucks or buses in Afghanistan and Pakistan). Dennis hid the money in the rear compartment of the toy trucks. Dennis also shipped a hope chest containing approximately $100,000 in cash in a concealed compartment.

While on leave, Dennis met with Pittman and asked if he could send the money to Pittman to launder through his landscaping company. Pittman agreed and began sending “salary” checks to Dennis.

Dennis pleaded guilty to the information today in Memphis before U.S. District Judge Samuel H. Mays, Jr and his sentencing is set for September 4, 2014. Pittman pleaded guilty on May 15, 2014 before U.S. Magistrate Judge William B. Carter of the Eastern District of Tennessee for his role in this conspiracy. Both men face up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up $500,000, restitution and forfeiture
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These matters are being investigated by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the FBI, the Army Criminal Investigative Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Trial Attorney Daniel Butler of the Criminal Division and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frederick Godwin of the Western District of Tennessee and James Brooks of the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Updated March 19, 2015