January 27, 2022

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Two Individuals Charged with Bribery Related to Iraq Contracts

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<div>Two individuals have been charged with bribery offenses in connection with Department of Defense contracts as part of the Fraud Section’s ongoing efforts to combat corruption and fraud in contracting on U.S. military installations overseas.</div>

Two individuals have been charged with bribery offenses in connection with Department of Defense contracts as part of the Fraud Section’s ongoing efforts to combat corruption and fraud in contracting on U.S. military installations overseas.

Mark Alan Fryday, 37, and Lara Jumaah Mohammed, 30, both residing in Erbil, Iraq, were charged in an indictment filed in the District of Columbia with one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery of a public official.

“This alleged bribery and kickback scheme sought to undermine the efforts of the Department of Defense to lawfully contract overseas,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt.  “Corruption undermines our military’s readiness and affects the wellbeing of our servicemembers, and the Department of Justice will continue to work to protect our men and women in uniform from corrupt and fraudulent conduct around the world.”

“My office is committed to protecting the integrity of government contracting and in particular stamping out corruption that threatens the U.S. military and its installations abroad,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin of the District of Columbia.  “This indictment, and our partnership with the Fraud Section on this case, is part of that effort.”

“Contractors who do business with the Department of Defense should take notice of these investigations.  This type of egregious conduct will not be tolerated” said Stanley Newell, Special Agent in Charge for the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Transnational Operations Field Office.  “DCIS and its law enforcement partners remain steadfast in our commitment to defend the integrity of the Department of Defense contracting process by rooting out fraud and deceit of this sort, and ensuring that the perpetrators are held accountable.”

“We are committed to maintaining the integrity of the procurement process,” said Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Criminal Investigation Command’s (CID) Major Procurement Fraud Unit. “This indictment sends an unmistakable message to other companies around the world – that we will be relentless in rooting out corruption at any level.”  

The indictment alleges that Fryday and Mohammed offered bribes to a U.S. Army official at Erbil Air Base in Iraq.  Fryday and Mohammed allegedly owned companies based in Erbil that sought contracts to supply goods and services to U.S. military forces there.  In early 2020, Fryday and Mohammed allegedly offered to pay an Army contracting official a kickback equivalent to 20 percent of the value of any contract that he awarded to their companies.  Fryday and Mohammed also allegedly offered an upfront cash payment in exchange for the award of a contract to supply equipment that was due to be awarded in late March 2020.

As part of the Fraud Section’s on-going efforts to combat corruption and fraud in contracting on U.S. military installations overseas, two additional individuals have been previously charged.  Roy George Varkey, 56, of Kuwait City, Kuwait, was charged with two counts of bribery in an indictment filed in the District of Columbia on Dec. 19, 2019, for his role in offering bribes to an employee of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) at Camp Arifjan, a U.S. military facility in Kuwait, in late 2019.  Xavier Fernando Monroy, the former Director of Operations of the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command Office in Busan, Republic of Korea, was charged by complaint on May 20, 2020 in the District of Columbia for allegedly participating in a bribery conspiracy and lying to federal investigators.

An indictment or complaint is merely an accusation.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is the nation’s leading prosecuting authority for complex procurement fraud and corruption cases.

The investigation is being conducted by DCIS and the CID’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit.  Trial Attorney Michael P. McCarthy of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric S. Nguyen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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