One current and three former U.S. Army soldiers were sentenced today in federal court in Raleigh, North Carolina, for their involvement in a bribery scheme in Afghanistan that resulted in the theft of fuel valued at more than $10 million.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker of the Eastern District of North Carolina, Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Southeast Field Office, Special Agent in Charge John A. Strong of the FBI’s Charlotte Division, Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s (Army CID) Major Procurement Fraud Unit and Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John F. Sopko made the announcement.
Each defendant previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery. U.S. District Court Judge Terrence W. Boyle of the Eastern District of North Carolina imposed the following sentences:
Jeffery B. Edmondson, 38, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was the senior enlisted member of the unit who supervised all of his co-conspirators, and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Christopher Ciampa, 33, of Lillington, North Carolina, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Enmanual Lugo, 32, of Ocean Township, New Jersey, was sentenced to four years in prison.
Geoffrey Montague, 39, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was a senior enlisted member of the unit who reported to Edmondson, and was sentenced to five years in prison.
In 2011, Edmondson, Ciampa, Lugo and Montague were U.S. Army soldiers serving with the 3rd Special Forces Group Service Detachment deployed to Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan. During the deployment, the defendants were responsible for managing Transportation Movement Requests (TMRs) for fuel and other items in support of military units in Afghanistan paid for by the U.S. government.
In connection with their guilty pleas, the defendants admitted to submitting fake TMRs for thousands of gallons of fuel that were neither necessary nor used by military units. The defendants admitted that, in return for cash bribe payments, they awarded all of the TMRs to the same Afghan trucking company, which used the fake TMRs to download fuel from depots on Kandahar Air Field and then sold the fuel on the black market.
The defendants admitted that they sent some of the illicit proceeds to the Unites States via wire transfer or hidden in personal items, and transported cash back to the United States either on their persons or in their luggage. In addition, Edmondson and Ciampa admitted to using the funds to purchase automobiles.
According to the plea agreements, the scheme caused losses to the United States of over $10 million.
The case was investigated by the DCIS, FBI, Army CID and SIGAR. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Wade Weems of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, on detail from SIGAR, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Banumathi Rangarajan of the Eastern District of North Carolina.