Atlanta, Georgia - A former employee of a U.S. government contractor in Afghanistan pleaded guilty today to accepting illegal kickbacks from an Afghan subcontractor in return for his assistance in obtaining subcontracts on U.S. government contracts.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak of the Northern District of Georgia; Special Agent in Charge John Khin of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Southeast Field Office, Atlanta Resident Agency; Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John F. Sopko; Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s (CID) Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU); Special Agent in Charge David J. LeValley of the FBI Atlanta Resident Agency and Special Agent in Charge Wendell W. Palmer of Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI), made the announcement.
Christopher McCray, 55, of Jonesboro, Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee, pleaded guilty to one count of accepting illegal kickbacks before U.S. District Judge Mark H. Cohen of the Northern District of Georgia. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Cohen on June 14 at 10:00 a.m. EST. McCray was charged in an indictment filed on April 25, 2017 in the Northern District of Georgia with one count of conspiracy to accept kickbacks and 14 counts of accepting illegal kickbacks.
As part of his plea, McCray admitted that he was employed as the country manager for a subcontractor of an American company that was moving cargo for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service from Bagram Airfield to military bases through Afghanistan. When the prime contractor needed McCray’s employer to take a much bigger role in the distribution, McCray had the chance to influence the choice of the necessary Afghan trucking company as a subcontractor to his employer. McCray’s employer entered into a subcontract with an Afghan company but before the choice of the subcontractor was made, the Afghan trucking company secretly agreed to kick back to McCray 15 percent of the revenues it would receive on the contract, he admitted. McCray thereafter remained as the only representative of his employer in Afghanistan for the duration of the subcontract and was responsible for checking the accuracy of the invoices submitted to McCray’s employer and the quality of the Afghan company’s work, all while secretly receiving the kickbacks, he admitted.
McCray received the secret payments from December 2012 to May 2014. He and the Afghan trucking company also maintained a separate set of invoices, which showed the amounts charged to McCray’s employer and the amounts kept by the Afghan company and the amounts sent to McCray. McCray was first paid in cash, then by wires sent to his bank in Atlanta and then by Western Union payments sent to his mother, who would deposit the funds, mostly in cash, into McCray’s bank accounts, he admitted.
DCIS, SIGAR, Army CID-MPFU, the FBI and Air Force OSI investigated this matter. Trial Attorney James Gelber of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Pearce of the Northern District of Georgia are prosecuting the case.