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Contractor gets 6 years for Pentagon fraud

The owner of a South Carolina parts distributor who pleaded guilty to bilking the Pentagon out of more than $20 million is also ordered to repay $15.5 million.

March 03, 2009|Bloomberg News

A contractor who pleaded guilty to bilking the Pentagon out of more than $20 million during a nine-year fraudulent billing scheme was sentenced Monday to six years in prison and ordered to repay $15.5 million.

Charlene Corley, 48, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Margaret B. Seymour in Columbia, S.C. Corley also was ordered to serve three years of court-supervised release.

Among the Defense Department payments made to Corley, co-owner of a South Carolina parts distributor, was $998,798 for shipping two 19-cent washers to an Army base in Texas; $455,009 to ship three machine screws costing $1.31 each to Marines in Habbaniyah, Iraq; and $293,451 to ship an 89-cent split washer to Patrick Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Pentagon records show.

Prosecutors said in court papers the money was used to buy four beach houses; custom jewelry; vacations to Hawaii, Alaska and the Caribbean; plastic surgery; and "high-end automobiles made by Mercedes and Lexus."

The government seized the homes, autos, jewelry and other assets and will auction them off. The proceeds will be applied toward the $15.5-million restitution, Assistant U.S. Atty. Kevin McDonald in South Carolina said.

Corley pleaded guilty in August 2007 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money. Under federal guidelines she could have received a total sentence of 40 years.

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