Former Employee of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Afghanistan Pleads Guilty to Soliciting Approximately $320,000 in Bribes from Contractors
WASHINGTON – A former employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) based in Afghanistan pleaded guilty today to soliciting approximately $320,000 in bribes from Afghan contractors in return for his assistance in U.S. government contracts.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Patrick D. Hansen of the Central District of Illinois; Special Agent in Charge Sean Cox of the FBI’s Springfield Field Office; Special Inspector General John F. Sopko for Afghanistan Reconstruction; Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s (CID) Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU); and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) made the announcement.
Mark E. Miller, 48, of Springfield, Ill., was charged in an Information filed on July 18, in the Central District of Illinois with one count of seeking and receiving bribes. He pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins in Springfield, Illinois. Miller is scheduled to be sentenced on November 30, by U.S. District Judge Richard H. Mills.
During the hearing, Miller admitted that he worked for the USACE from 2005 until 2015, including in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2012. During that time, Miller maintained a residence in Springfield. From February 2009 to October 2011, Miller was assigned to a military base, Camp Clark, in eastern Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan, Miller was the site manager and a contracting officer representative for a number of construction projects.
Miller further admitted that on Dec. 10, 2009, the USACE awarded a contract worth approximately $2.9 million to an Afghan construction company for the construction of a road from eastern Afghanistan to the Pakistani border. This contract later increased in value to approximately $8,142,300. Miller admitted that he oversaw the work of the Afghan company on this road project, including verifying that the company performed the work called for by the contract and authorizing progress payments to the company by the USACE.
Miller admitted that, in the course of overseeing the contract with the Afghan company, he solicited approximately $280,000 in bribes from the owners of the company, in return for assisting the company in connection with the road project, including making sure the contract was not terminated. Miller further admitted that, after the contract was no longer active, he solicited an additional $40,000 in bribes in return for the possibility of future contract work and other benefits.
This matter was investigated by the FBI, DCIS, SIGAR and Army CID-MPFU. Trial Attorney Daniel Butler of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris of the Central District of Illinois are prosecuting the case.