Washington, D.C. Three U.S. Army Reserve officers were indicted Wednesday, accused of taking part in a bid-rigging scam that steered millions of dollars for Iraq reconstruction projects to a contractor in exchange for cash, luxury cars and jewelry.
An American businessman in Romania was charged as the go-between for the military officers and the contractor. The husband of one of the reservists was accused of helping smuggle tens of thousands of dollars into the United States that the couple used to pay for a deck and a hot tub at their New Jersey house.
Together, the five used the $26 billion Iraqi rebuilding fund "as their own personal ATM machines," Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty said in announcing the charges.
The 25-count indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, marks the latest development in an investigation of
$8.6 million in Iraq contracts awarded to construction mogul Philip H. Bloom.
Bloom, an American resident who ran construction and services companies under Global Business Group, has admitted to laundering at least $2 million that was stolen from reconstruction funds managed by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. He awaits sentencing.