A retired Army lieutenant colonel from Cibolo has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for taking $253,000 in gratuities from contractors at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, a supply hub for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan that was rife with corruption.
While he was not a contracting officer, Mark L. Moss, 49, oversaw cable, Internet and satellite services for the military in Kuwait for nearly five years and developed a cozy relationship with a pair of contractors there, Al-Pacific LTD Est for Electronics and Makhpiya Project Management, or MPM.
In order to not be indicted, he pleaded guilty last September to a charge of committing acts that benefited his financial interests.
At his sentencing hearing Thursday, US District Judge Orlando Garcia also ordered him to pay $253,000 in restitution. “I want to be clear, this is not a bribery case,” Moss’ lawyer, Adam Cortez of San Antonio, has previously said. “It was him taking money from companies he had an interest in.
He was going to go work for them to get contracts from the government of Kuwait.” While he was a unit commander in Kuwait, Moss accepted free services, dinners, gifts, an expensive Breitling watch, cash hand-delivered to his home or wired to his accounts in San Antonio and debit cards to use at ATMs abroad between November 2007 and June 2010. In exchange, he favored Al-Pacific and MPM during the Army contract award selection process; recommended MPM as a subcontractor to other companies that were awarded contracts; and expedited Al-Pacific and MPM requests for security badges, moving them ahead of all other requests and allowing them more efficient access to Camp Arifjan.
“While service members in a conflict zone made great sacrifices, Mr. Moss used his position to line his pockets with a quarter-million dollars,” said Richard Durbin Jr., US attorney for the Western District of Texas. No one else has been charged, and the owner of MPM has since died. The “sentencing demonstrates the severe criminal penalties that result when government officials, motivated purely by greed, betray their oath to this great country and its citizens for their own personal benefit,” said William Cotter, special agent in charge of the IRS’ criminal investigation division in San Antonio.
Agents with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Army Criminal Investigations Division and the FBI also participated in the investigation.
Source: Arab Times