First Sergeant Jimmy W. Dennis pleaded guilty in federal court in Tennessee to conspiracy to launder about $250,000 in bribes he took from contractors in Afghanistan, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
And a civilian friend who helped launder Dennis’ money, James C. Pittman, also pleaded guilty last week for his role in the conspiracy.
Sergeant Dennis was assigned as a paying agent in the Humanitarian Aid Yard (HA Yard) at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan from March 2008 to March 2009.
He was a member of the team in the HA Yard that purchased supplies from local Afghan vendors for distribution as part of the Commander’s Emergency Response Program for urgent humanitarian relief requirements in Afghanistan.
Dennis steered contracts to certain Afghan vendors in return for bribes of about $250,000 in cash.
He then smuggled the bribe money to the United States in packages addressed to his wife, father and a former Army friend, Pittman, the DOJ said.
He sent $80,000 to $100,000 to his father from Afghanistan in toy trucks or buses he bought in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And he shipped his father a hope chest containing $100,000 in cash in a concealed compartment.
According to court documents, Dennis met with Pittman while on leave, telling Pittman about the kickbacks and asking for help laundering the cash.
Pittman, owner of a landscaping business, agreed to launder the bribe money through his company. After returning to Afghanistan, Dennis sent $60,000 to Pittman in the toy trucks.
Dennis also arranged for his father to send $20,000 to Pittman, who returned it in the form of purported salary checks from his landscaping company.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 4 for Dennis and September 8 for Pittman.
The DOJ’s May 28, 2014 release is here.
Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.