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US House passes bill to curb wartime fraud by private contractors

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives passed the War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2007 [HR 400 materials] Tuesday, a bill creating new criminal provisions to govern fraud conducted by private defense contractors against the US government. The measure, passed by a vote of 375-3 [roll call], "amends the federal criminal code to prohibit profiteering and fraud involving a contract or the provision of goods or services in connection with a mission of the U.S. Government overseas," according to the CRS summary [text] of the bill. US Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) [official website], who sponsored the bill, said [press release] Tuesday that he introduced the bill to prevent defense contractors from viewing "the U.S. occupation of Iraq ... as 'Open Season' on the American taxpayer." Persons found guilty of knowingly defrauding the US or a provisional authority in connection with a US mission overseas would be subject to a 20-year prison sentence and a fine of $1 million or twice the profits that resulted from the fraudulent activity.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved [press release] a similar bill [S 119 materials] earlier this year, but that measure has not yet come up for a vote on the Senate floor. AP has more.

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