March 26, 2006

Halliburton henchman gets sentenced in Rock Island

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (AP) -- A former employee of a Halliburton subsidiary has pleaded guilty to taking kickbacks from a Saudi subcontractor that was awarded a $14.4 million U.S. military contract to provide dining facilities for soldiers in Kuwait.

Stephen Lowell Seamans of Maryland, a former Kellogg, Brown & Root Services Inc. manager in Kuwait, pleaded guilty on March 10 to wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money, the U.S. Attorney's office in Springfield announced Thursday after unsealing court documents.

Federal prosecutors on Thursday also announced charges against the operations director for Tamimi Global Co., the Saudi subcontractor who the government says paid off Seamans to award his company the contract.

Mohammad Shabbir Khan, 49, is charged with making false statements to federal agents during a meeting in Rock Island on Wednesday, during which he denied making the alleged kickback payments to Seamans.

Federal prosecutors say Seamans, 44, accepted more than $124,000 from Kahn in October 2002 in exchange for the one-year U.S. Army subcontract for Tamimi to run the dining facility at Camp Arifjan, a main American base in Kuwait.

U.S. Army Operations Support Command, headquartered in Rock Island, awarded Kellogg, Brown & Root a broad contract in December 2001 to support logistics for U.S. military forces, including the provision of dining facilities for US. soldiers in Kuwait.

Seamans' plea agreement also said he agreed to take a $5,000 kickback from another, unnamed company in Kuwait in exchange for a cleaning contract. That company's managing partner later offered to hire Seamans as a consultant at an annual salary of $1.2 million after Seamans left Kellogg, Brown & Root.

The managing partner transferred $300,000 to Seamans' bank account in May 2003 as an advance on the employment agreement, but the two later agreed to end the deal and no additional payments were made, prosecutors said.

Seamans faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count, and fines of $250,000 for the wire fraud charge and $500,000 for the conspiracy to launder money charge. His sentencing is scheduled for August 4.

Halliburton spokeswoman Melissa Norcross said Friday that Seamans has not worked for Kellogg, Brown & Root since 2003, and that the company had told the U.S. government of its concerns over possible misconduct by Seamans.

"We do not tolerate this kind of behavior by anyone at any level in any Halliburton company," Norcross said in a statement.

U.S. Attorney Rodger Heaton said Seamans has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in "rooting out corruption in the military procurement supply chain."

Khan, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted on the charge of making false statements to federal agents.

A message left at Tamimi's Saudi headquarters on Friday was not immediately returned.

Last month, federal prosecutors said an executive for a subcontractor hired by Kellogg, Brown & Root to fly cargo into Iraq under a military contract pleaded guilty to inflating invoices by $1.14 million. Sentencing for Christopher Joseph Cahill, 51, of Katy, Tex., is scheduled for May 26.

And trust me, this is only a very, very, very small drop in the bucket compared to the literally billions which have been skimmed off and stolen by Bush cronies in Iraq. It's literally looting, with accounts of contractors being paid with pallets full of cash, literally millions being handed out in satchels and people tossing huge bricks of cash into the backs of trucks.

The scope of the theft and war profiteering is yet to be realized by the public, despite news accounts verifying that there is literally BILLIONS which have gone unaccounted for by the government in Iraq. It just came up missing. Oh well.

Think the Republican congress will look into this massive fraud and theft from taxpayers?

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