August 20, 2005

Tip of the iceberg, man charged in Iraq kickback scheme

A Texas man pleaded guilty Friday to taking kickbacks for work in Iraq that was contracted by a support command unit headquartered at the Rock Island Arsenal.

Glenn Allen Powell, 40, of Cedar Park, entered the guilty plea in U.S. District Court, Peoria, for major fraud against the U.S. government and violating the Anti-Kickback Act. He faces up to 20 years in prison, a $1.25 million fine and up to six years of supervised release.

According to the plea agreement, Mr. Powell was a subcontracts administrator in Iraq from October 2003 to Jan. 6 for the prime contractor, Kellogg, Brown and Root Services, Inc. [Note: A division of Haliburton]

The company started investigating Mr. Powell on Jan. 6, according to the plea agreement. Company representatives searched Mr. Powell's quarters in Baghdad and found $8,000 in U.S. $100 bills in a jacket, $1,580 in U.S. currency on top of a refrigerator and 5,044,000 in Iraqi dinars - the equivalent of $3,452 -- stacked behind clothing on the top shelf of a dresser.

Kellogg, Brown and Root security personnel then interviewed Mr. Powell and he admitted to making an agreement with undisclosed company to get 20 percent of the $609,000 subcontract as a kickback, according to the plea agreement.

The money found during the search of Mr. Powell's quarters was money he'd received from a payment in October 2004.

This is the second time this year that an employee of Kellogg, Brown and Root Services has been charged with taking kickbacks for contract work.

Jeff Alex Mazon, 36, a former employee of the company, and Ali Hijazi, the managing partner of a Kuwaiti business, are charged in U.S. District Court, Rock Island, with four counts of major fraud against the United States government and six counts of wire fraud.

The two are accused of devising a scheme to defraud the United States of more than $3.5 million through a subcontract awarded to a Kuwaiti company, LaNouvelle General Trading and Contracting Co. That company was contracted to provide fuel tankers for military operations in Kuwait.

Mr. Mazon has pleaded innocent to the charges. Mr. Hijazi has never made an appearance in the case.
Now if they'd just do a little more investigation about the missing $10 billion that's gone unaccounted for in Iraq, or the several verified reports of money being stacked on pallets and handed out off the back of trucks.


At 8/20/2005 1:25 PM, Blogger Footprint said...

i suppose you were expecting a responsible government.
And what will you do to fix this??

At 8/20/2005 2:13 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Unfortunately, some small players will get prosecuted and punished, and as usual, those that stole enormous amounts, into the millions of dollars, will walk away without a scratch. Legalized and government sanctioned theft of the American taxpayer, courtesy of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and friends.

At 8/20/2005 5:48 PM, Blogger diehard said...

More and more Americans are starting to ask them selves the same question. Whats the end game plan here? O.k. weve shown we have a stomach for war big deal! Its easy when someone else is losing their only child or father, daughter etc.
Bush needs to have a plan here. Even Republican lawmakers are starting to question this bottomless hole that we seem to have fallen into in Iraq.
We need to be protecting our flanks in other areas og the world.
This summer,for the first time China and Russia are doing joint military manuvers, Army and Navy!
How many troops do we have in Alaska? Sound ridiculous?
When Pearl Harbor was attacked most people had barely heard of an American territory called Hawaii let alone Pearl Harbor!

At 8/21/2005 10:28 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Dope, do you ever get the feeling that the abuse of contractor funds and the kickbacks are so prevelant that maybe this is just the way the majority of businesssmen operate in our country? I mean maybe it's the way of the corporate world too.

It seems to me that the abuse in government contracts situations is rampant and commonplace and that it's done with a wink and a handshake until you get unlucky enough to get caught. And what really happens to those who get caught? Not much really from what I am seeing. I am certain some of this happens in local and state government as well.

It's just too dam tempting for these folks....all that money sitting around and coming in regularly from the good folks who actually do pay their taxes. The folks who usually don't have to pay much - the rich and the wealthy businesspersons- they are usually the ones getting the dollars (extra illegal bonus kickbacks) forked over to pad their job contacts whilst unbeknown to the people who work for the rich folks and who obey the law and pay their taxes as the law states with their hard earned money.

It just kinda seems that way.....what do you think Dope?

At 8/22/2005 11:42 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I think you're right for the most part. The fact remains that it's already wealthy Republicans which are ripping off the taxpayer to the tune of literally billions of dollars.

It's an extention of the truism of the legal system, that if you steal a loaf of bread to feed your family, you'll do more jail time than a wealthy businessman does for stealing literally millions of dollars of tax money.

Steal little, go to jail, steal big, either don't get caught, or face a slap on the wrist.

Or better yet, pay your congressman to legalize your brand of theft by slipping in language in a bill having to do with something totally unrelated which no one will notice.

Invest a few thousand, reap millions. Can't beat that return on investment. Just ask all of Bush's big donors. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

At 8/22/2005 6:16 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Well Dope, that said, I was pleased to see last night on HBO -

The final episode of 'Six Feet Under' - where a main character told her young boyfriend that if Bush wanted to start the draft - and continue the war for years - that she made him promise to move to Canada and not fight!! Further, she said, "I don't want your life wasted" just so Bush and Cheney can get more millions with Halaburtin and other corporate vendors over in the war raking in the money!

It is good that someone is saying it in a big way where people may get the message....


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