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Press Release

Iraqi Company Business Manager Pleads Guilty in Texas
to Illegal Gratuities Scheme

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A business manager for an Iraqi company pleaded guilty today to giving thousands of dollars in illegal gratuities to a U.S. pay agent from contractors while the business manager was in Iraq, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas.

 Mario G. Khalil, 50, of Houston, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge David Hittner in the Southern District of Texas to a criminal information charging him with one count of giving a gratuity to a public official.  At sentencing, scheduled for Oct. 3, 2013, he faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

 According to court documents, from 2007 through 2009, Khalil worked at Camp Liberty in Iraq as a business manager for an Iraqi contracting company, holding various contracts with the U. S. Army, Air Force and Department of Defense to provide logistical services and supplies.

Khalil told Richard Gilliland – a U.S. Army staff sergeant serving as a pay agent for civil investment projects in Iraq from October 2007 through November 2008 – that Khalil’s company was interested in obtaining contracts and acquiring used and non-working generators from the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) and was seeking Gilliland’s assistance as an Army official.  Khalil gave and offered Gilliland approximately $10,000 in cash and a laptop computer in return for his influence in obtaining generators and future contracts.

Gilliland pleaded guilty in February 2013 to an information stemming from the same scheme and is awaiting an August 2013 sentencing.

The case was investigated by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.  The case is being prosecuted by Director of Procurement Fraud Litigation Catherine Votaw and Trial Attorney Mark Grider of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney James Buchanan of the Southern District of Texas. 

Updated September 15, 2014

Press Release Number: 13-771