FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
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Australian Man Sentenced to 22 Months in Prison For Accepting Payment as Reward For Steering $15 Million in U.S.-Funded Contracts in Afghanistan
- Defendant Accepted $10,000 and Sought $190,000-
WASHINGTON - A former senior construction manager who worked as an agent for an intergovernmental organization was sentenced today to 22 months in prison for seeking $190,000 in payments as a reward for steering U.S.-funded contracts in Afghanistan.
The sentencing was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.; Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division; U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Acting Inspector General Michael G. Carroll; Acting Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) Steven J Trent, and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Neil P. Campbell, 62, of Queensland, Australia, pleaded guilty in October 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of accepting an illegal payment as an agent of an organization receiving federal funds. He was sentenced by the Honorable Rosemary M. Collyer Campbell was originally charged on Aug. 19, 2010. He was arrested in New Delhi, India, in October 2010, and extradited to the United States in February 2011. The defendant will get credit toward his sentence for the time he already served.
Campbell also agreed in his plea to forfeiture of $10,000, which represents the illegal payment he received. Upon completion of his prison term, Campbell will be placed on two years of supervised release.
According to court records, beginning in January 2009, Campbell worked in Afghanistan as a contractor and acted as an agent for the International Organization on Migration (IOM). The IOM has received more than $260 million from USAID since 2002 to construct hospitals, schools and other facilities.
Campbell admitted that in July 2010, while in Afghanistan, he solicited a one-time cash payment of $190,000 from a subcontractor in Afghanistan as a reward for funneling more than $15 million in reconstruction projects to that subcontractor to build a hospital and a provincial teaching college. In August 2010, Campbell met an undercover USAID investigator posing as the subcontractor’s representative and accepted a $10,000 cash payment. Campbell counted the money and requested that the remaining funds come to him in one payment. In October 2010, Campbell traveled to New Delhi, India, where he believed he would be receiving the remaining $180,000. He was arrested at the New Delhi International Airport by agents of the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation.
“This Australian citizen was sentenced to 22 months in prison because of his dishonesty and greed,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Mr. Campbell tried to extract kickbacks while handing out U.S. taxpayer dollars meant to build a hospital and a school in Afghanistan. His prison sentence should serve as a warning to anyone around the world tempted to divert funds from U.S. contracts for personal gain.”
“Mr. Campbell solicited nearly $200,000 in illegal payments in exchange for steering reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “These crimes undermine the good works of our international organizations. We will not permit corruption to be a tool for gaining U.S.-funded contracts in any part of the world, and we will continue the fight to root our fraud and graft wherever we find them.”
“Today’s sentencing serves an example that anyone who abuses their position by engaging in illegal activities while working on projects funded by USAID will be aggressively investigated and held accountable for their actions,” said Acting Inspector General Carroll.
“Mr. Campbell corrupted the process of awarding contracts to build a hospital and a college in a country in desperate need of both. The message of this case is clear: SIGAR and our investigative partners will bring to justice anyone, from any country, who abuses the U.S. reconstruction mission,” Acting Special Inspector General Trent.
“This case is another example that fraud and corruption will not be tolerated, and those responsible for such illegal acts will be held accountable,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “The FBI continues to work with our federal partners to combat corruption and contract fraud against U.S. interests, even if those acts occur on foreign soil.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew C. Solomon of the District of Columbia and Trial Attorney Ryan S. Faulconer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Substantial assistance was provided by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Vasu B. Muthyala, the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, the FBI Legal Attaché and the Judicial Attaché Office in Kabul. The case is being investigated by the USAID Office of Inspector General, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the FBI’s Washington Field Office and members of the International Contract Corruption Task Force (ICCTF).
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 worldwide, including in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.