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Prison term for fraud in Iraq

Former reconstruction officer must forfeit $3.6 million over U.S. contracts scheme.

January 30, 2007|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — A former civilian contractor for the Defense Department was sentenced Monday to nine years in prison and ordered to forfeit $3.6 million for his role in a bribery and fraud scheme involving contracts to reconstruct Iraq, U.S. officials said.

Justice Department officials said Robert J. Stein Jr., 52, of Fayetteville, N.C., also was sentenced to three years of probation after his release from prison.

Stein, the comptroller and funding officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Hillah, Iraq, in 2003 and 2004, pleaded guilty a year ago to various criminal charges, including bribery, money laundering and conspiracy.

"Robert Stein will now spend nine years in jail for exploiting his public position and accepting bribes for contracts during the rebuilding of Iraq," said Assistant Atty. Gen. Alice S. Fisher head of criminal justice.

"The Department of Justice will protect the integrity of the federal contracting process by aggressively prosecuting fraud, bribery and other crimes that taint missions as critical as the reconstruction of Iraq."

Stein said that he and his co-conspirators, including several Army Reserve officers, steered contracts to contractor Philip H. Bloom.

Stein said that he and others received more than $1 million in cash, sports cars, a motorcycle, jewelry, computers and others items of value, and that they stole more than $2 million that had been designated for the reconstruction of Iraq.

The officials said Stein has cooperated with the government's ongoing investigation. Under the law, he had faced a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

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