Three charged over alleged presidential helicopter procurement fraud

17 November 2014

Three men have been charged with fraud relating to procurement of a military helicopter maintenance contract in North Carolina, US.

Craig Kolhagen, Dennis Pennington and James Bowling are charged with being engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the US in connection with a bid proposal for a contract for maintenance work on helicopters in Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1), which transport the president.

It is alleged Kolhagen, a chief warrant officer in the US Marine Corps, illegally leaked confidential information on the cost of a proposed contract for maintenance of the helicopters.

Pennington and Bowling, retired Marine Corps senior non-commissioned officers and chief executive and president respectively of defence contractor Valour, unlawfully colluded with Kolhagen to artificially inflate the cost estimate of the bid proposal, it is alleged. The proposed contract’s statement of work and technical requirements was drafted in a way to favour Valour over other bidders, according to the indictment.

A federal grand jury in Raleigh returned a five count indictment charging the men with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, major fraud against the government, and procurement fraud.

The case is being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

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