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4 February 2011 |
A US embassy worker in
Iraq has been convicted for stealing nearly a quarter of a million dollars by
fooling procurement staff.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) this week found
Osama Esam Saleem Ayesh guilty of stealing money intended for the payment of
shipping and customs services.
Ayesh was employed by
the US embassy in Baghdad as a shipping and customs supervisor overseeing the
shipment of embassy workers’ personal property.
He was personally
involved in establishing and operating purchase agreements for customs
clearance and delivery services to the embassy in Baghdad. Using his state
department computer, he created a false email account in the name of an
existing Iraqi contractor to communicate with embassy buyers. From November
2008 to June 2010, he submitted false invoices and set up a bank account in his
wife’s name that resulted in the US government transferring £150,956 ($243,416)
to the account in Jordan.
On 2 February, a jury
found Ayesh guilty on two counts of theft of public money and one count of
engaging in acts affecting a personal financial interest.
He faces a maximum
penalty of 10 years for each theft count and five years in prison for the
conflict of interest charge when he is sentenced on 8 April 2011.
The case follows a
number of similar cases of fraud that have resulted in sentences in the past
On 25 January, a former
senior employee of a US military contractor was sentenced to 37 months in
prison for paying £223,250 ($360,000) in bribes to US army contracting
officials stationed at a US military base in Kuwait.
19 January, a US army contracting officer was sentenced to 60 months in jail for
accepting bribes for the awarding of army contracts.
On 7 January, a former US army
staff sergeant was sentenced to 90 months’ jail time for accepting more than
£247,969 ($400,000) in bribes from a government contractor. In exchange, he
forged paperwork that enabled the contractor to steal nearly £929,672 ($1.5
million) in fuel from a US base in Afghanistan.