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US Army probing multiple contract frauds in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait operations

[JURIST] The US Army confirmed Saturday to AP that it has up to 50 criminal investigations underway into alleged frauds involving private contractors running operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. The Pentagon [official website] currently outsources many military tasks from laundry to weapons system repair work, but the military's inability to monitor most contractors has cost the US government millions of dollars. One case involves an Army chief warrant officer who allegedly took a $50,000 bribe to steer a contract for paper products and plastic flatware to a Kuwaiti company.

In August 2006, a US federal judge set aside a $10 million verdict [JURIST reports] against private military contractor Custer Battles [corporate website], ruling that the former Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) [official website] in Iraq could not be considered a US government entity. Custer Battles was sued for defrauding the US government under the False Claims Act [text] and a federal jury found the company guilty of 37 fraudulent acts against the CPA, including establishing shell companies, forging invoices, inflating charges, and stealing equipment in an attempt to loot millions of dollars. Earlier this month, Senate Democrats unveiled legislation that would make it easier to prosecute [CongressDaily report] war profiteers. AP has more.

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