Scheme to defraud U.S. Army backfires for former KBR employee

By Kimberely Lennard, Land Line staff writer | Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Houston woman pleaded guilty on Oct. 24 to bribery charges for her role in a scheme to fraudulently bill the U.S. Army for trucking services in Afghanistan, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. 

From approximately April 2008 through December 2008, court documents show that Diyana Montes, 29, was an employee of Kellogg, Brown and Root, a private contractor with operations in Afghanistan. She worked at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, where KBR held a contract with the United States.

KBR’s contract involved providing services to the Army’s Movement Control Branch, which, in turn, contracted with local Afghan trucking companies to transport U.S. military equipment, fuel and other supplies throughout Afghanistan. As part of this mission, the Movement Control Branch coordinated requests from various U.S. military units for trucking services and assigned those requests to particular contractors. Each trucking request generated documents called “transportation movement requests,” which authorized the use of trucks.

According to court documents, Montes’ duties included receiving transportation movement requests from various contractors and reconciling any discrepancies between the amount of services described in the requests and the amount of services the contractors claimed in their invoices. Once Montes reviewed the documents and determined they were accurate, she would pass them on to other contracting personnel, who would rely on her review in approving payments to the trucking company. 

On numerous occasions, according to court documents, Montes received and reviewed requests and invoices for services allegedly provided by Afghanistan Trade Transportation, a trucking company contracted by the U.S. Army. The documents fraudulently represented that ATT provided services that Montes knew were not performed. According to Montes’ plea agreement, she knew the invoices from ATT contained service claims that had not been performed, and she passed them along for payment anyway.

According to her plea agreement, in return for her knowingly handling the fraudulent requests and invoices, Montes received at least four separate cash and wire transfer payments totaling approximately $50,000 from ATT.  

Montes must pay restitution of $50,000 and faces a possible prison term of 15 years, a fine up to $250,000, and three years supervised release, as stated in the plea agreement. She was released on her own recognizance. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 31, 2013.

The Department of Justice told Land Line that “no one else has been charged in this scheme.”

The case was investigated by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI.

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