Two Charged in Scheme to Impersonate U.S. Officials and Defraud Iraqis
Two U.S. citizens residing in Iraq were charged in two separate indictments yesterday for their alleged participation in schemes to defraud Iraqi companies out of millions of dollars by impersonating U.S. officials.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Stanley Newell of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Transnational Operations Field Office, Special Agent in Charge L. Scott Moreland of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s (Army-CI) Mid-Atlantic Fraud Field Office and Resident Agent in Charge John R. Deptula Jr. of Army CI’s Southwest Asia Fraud Office made the announcement.
Riza Mohammad, 40, and Sabah Hasan Sachet, 48, were charged in two indictments returned in the District of Kansas. Mohammad and Sachet were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, six counts of wire fraud, one count of false impersonation of U.S. officials, and one count of wrongful use of U.S. government seals.
The indictments allege that Mohammad and Sachet, along with their co-conspirators, induced companies doing business in Iraq to enter into fraudulent contracts, under which the victim companies were to provide materials worth millions of dollars to the U.S. government and receive payment in return. However, the purported contracts were false and the victim companies that provided materials and/or made payments to obtain the contracts were never paid. Mohammad, Sachet and their co-conspirators allegedly emailed the victim companies forged contracts and other documents that contained falsified U.S. government seals and impersonated U.S. officials during in-person meetings with the victim companies, all in order to defraud the victim companies by deceiving them into believing they were doing business with the U.S. government. The defendants were collectively responsible for defrauding the victim companies out of items worth millions of dollars, the indictment alleges.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
DCIS and Army-CI investigated the case. Trial Attorneys Michael McCarthy and Katie Rasor of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs is also providing assistance in this matter.