Monday, November 17, 2008

Conviction in Iraq Illegal Gratuities Case

According to an October 31, 2008 press release from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Western Washington:
Contracting Officer Took Thousands for Steering Work in Iraq

CEDAR LANMON, 31, of Tacoma, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to a year in prison, and one year of supervised release for Accepting Illegal Gratuities. LANMON is a Captain in the Army who has completed two tours of duty in Iraq. While he was deployed LANMON accepted tens of thousands of dollars from contractors in Iraq to steer Army contracts to them. These contracts were for such things as heavy construction work at military facilities in Iraq. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said, “corruption cannot be accepted or tolerated, and would not be accepted or tolerated.” Judge Leighton noted that Lanmon’s conduct crossed the line, and he had to be sentenced to prison time to set an example to others who might also be inclined to cross the line.

According to records filed in the case, LANMON accepted money from three different individuals while deployed to Iraq. In his guilty plea, LANMON admits he accepted money from an Albanian contractor while assisting with the awarding of government contracts. LANMON took $25,000 from the Albanian contractor who was hired with a $250,000 contract to build berms at a military base in Ballad, Iraq. LANMON wired some of the illegally obtained funds home to his wife, or transported the cash back to the United States. LANMON also purchased high value rugs and furniture in Iraq and brought them to his home in Tacoma, planning to sell them for profit in the U.S.
At sentencing, Assistant United States Attorney David Reese Jennings said that if LANMON had done all the things he outlined in his letter to the court—helping Iraqis obtain contracts, helping them to understand the contracting system, and assisting them in conducting business with the United States -- as part of his job, he would be up for a promotion. “Instead, LANMON did them for profit, and he used his position as an Army Officer to cultivate those profits, and those actions are the very core of corruption,” Jennings told the court.

LANMON was charged in November 2007, and pleaded guilty July 23, 2008. LANMON is expected to receive a dishonorable discharge from the Army.

The case was investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), the FBI and the Army Criminal Investigation Division (Army-CID).

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Reese Jennings.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110."

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