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IRAQ: US Army officer Charged in Iraq Fraud Scam

The U.S. Justice Department said Army Reserve Lt. Col. Debra Harrison, 47, who served with the Coalition Provisional Authority, was arrested on charges involving bribery, money laundering and fraud.

Reuters
December 15th, 2005

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - A U.S. Army officer was arrested on Thursday for stealing between $80,000 and $100,000 in funds from the U.S. governing administration in Iraq and using the money to install a deck and hot hub in her New Jersey home.

The U.S. Justice Department said Army Reserve Lt. Col. Debra Harrison, 47, who served with the Coalition Provisional Authority, was arrested on charges involving bribery, money laundering and fraud.

Harrison is the second army officer and the fourth person charged in the past few weeks in connection with the scheme.

The Justice Department said Harrison was on active duty for the U.S. Army in 2003 and 2004, and was responsible for developing contract solicitations and ordering contracts for reconstruction efforts for the Coalition Provisional Authority -- South Central Region.

According to court papers, Harrison and her co-conspirators accepted money and gifts in return for using their official positions to rig contract bids.

An affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey said she used the money to add a deck and put in a hot tub at her home in Trenton, New Jersey, accepted a Cadillac Escalade worth about $50,000 and a $6,000 airline ticket from a contractor in return for rigging the bids.

Harrison was also accused of laundering funds from the CPA.

In the affidavit, Harrison was also charged with numerous firearms charges, including conspiring to embezzle and possess pistols, automatic machine guns and grenade launchers bought with CPA funds.

She is charged along with her co-conspirators of using the CPA funds to buy dozens of firearms and related military-grade hardware in North Carolina for their own use.

If convicted, Harrison faces up to 30 years in prison



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