Suffolk soldier pleads guilty in Iraq scheme

Published 9:18 pm Monday, May 18, 2009

A U.S. Army captain from Suffolk is one of two members of the military to plead guilty on Monday to stealing U.S. government equipment and selling it to a businessman in Iraq, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C.

According to court documents, Elbert Westley George III, 36, and 32-year-old Sgt. First Class Roy Greene Jr. of Georgia split at least $400,000 in the scheme, in which they used their positions with the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office to take a variety of items slated for sale or donation by the government and then sell them to an unnamed Iraqi businessman.

The stolen equipment included a bus, eight trucks, 19 generators, five trailers and other items, according to a statement of facts in support of the plea agreement.

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George then used his half of the money to buy money orders, which he sent home to Suffolk. He also carried $20,000 in illicit cash with him when he traveled home to Suffolk on leave in April 2008, he admitted in the statement.

Greene, according to his own statement, sent at least $100,000 of the proceeds to his girlfriend in South Carolina.

Between December 2007 and June 2008, George worked with Greene and at least one other, unnamed co-conspirator to illicitly check out equipment from the DRMO at Joint Base Balad in Iraq and take it to their base in Paliwoda, Iraq, where the businessman paid them in $100 bills for the stolen property, according to court documents.

A first sergeant at Joint Base Balad, who was in charge of central receiving and shipping there, received a 10-percent cut — also paid in $100 bills — to assure that the equipment was successfully transferred to the businessman.

George and Greene are set for sentencing July 17. Both face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The investigation was handled by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the FBI, the Army Criminal Investigative Division and members of the National Procurement Fraud Task Force and the International Contract Corruption Task Force.

The National Procurement Fraud Task Force was created by the Department of Justice in 2006 to detect, prevent and prosecute procurement fraud associated with government contracts for national security and other government programs.

The International Contract Corruption Task Force is a joint law enforcement agency that detects and investigates corruption and contract fraud resulting from overseas operations, including those in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.