u.S. army captian pleads guilty to acception illegal gratuities related to contracting in support of iraq war
Anchorage, Alaska – Acting United States Attorney Kevin R. Feldis announced today that a U.S. Army Captain from North Pole, Alaska pleaded guilty in Anchorage for accepting thousands of dollars in gratuities from a contractor during his deployment to Iraq as a civil affairs officer at a forward operating base in Rustimaya, Iraq.
Michael George Rutecki, 33, of North Pole, Alaska, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline to a criminal information charging him with one count of accepting illegal gratuities.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Craig M. Warner, who assisted with the prosecution in coordination with the Department of Justice's Fraud Section, Rutecki was a pay agent responsible for directing Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP) funds to pay contractors to perform work in accordance with civil development objectives set forth by U.S. Army commanders. Pay agents are accorded significant discretion in so doing. It is a violation of federal law for pay agents to accept personal gifts or gratuities from contractors dependent upon pay agents for contracts.
As part of his guilty plea, Retecki admitted that during and after the solicitation of contracts, he accepted cash and other things of value from an Iraqi contractor, including: $10,000 in cash, two silver rings with diamond stones, 15 gold coins worth more than $10,000, and other valuables from the contractor. Rutecki admitted that he took the valuables and money with the understanding and belief that they were for or because of his assistance to the contractor, who received the contract.
“I am disappointed that anyone, in or out of uniform, would commit these criminal acts during a time of war when our allies and our service members need our support the most,” said Major General David Quantock, the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID). “Our CID Special Agents have a robust and highly effective presence in the contracting arena, both at home and abroad, and we will continue to pursue those who violate the law and the public’s trust.”
Rutecki faces up to two years in prison and a fine of $250,000. In addition, Rutecki agreed to forfeit all gratuities and pay $10,000.00 in restitution to the United States. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled by the court.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig M. Warner from the District of Alaska and Special Trial Attorney Mark Grider of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, on detail from SIGIR. The case is being investigated by the Major Procurement Fraud Unit, U.S. Army CID and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.