Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Iraq: U.S. Army Major charged with smuggling cash from Iraq

U.S. Army Major Charles E. Sublett, 46, of Huntsville, Ala., was arrested today on charges of bulk cash smuggling and making false statements to a federal agency, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

Major Sublett was charged in an indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in Memphis, Tenn., on Jan. 5, 2010, and unsealed today following his arrest in Huntsville. According to the indictment,

Major Sublett smuggled more than $100,000 in currency, concealed in a shipping package, into the United States from Iraq in January 2005. Major Sublett also allegedly failed to declare that he imported the money.

As alleged in the indictment, from August 2004 through February 2005, Major Sublett was deployed to Balad Regional Contracting Center on Logistical Support Area (LSA) Anaconda in Iraq. LSA Anaconda is a U.S. military installation that was established in approximately 2003 to support U.S. military operations in Iraq. According to the indictment, Major Sublett served as a contracting officer while deployed to LSA Anaconda. As a contracting officer, Major Sublett was responsible for, among other things, evaluating and supervising contracts with companies that provide goods and services to the U.S. Army.

According to the indictment, on approximately Jan. 11, 2005, Major Sublett sent a package from Balad, Iraq, to Killeen, Texas, which was seized by Customs and Border Protection officers in Memphis. The international air waybill for the package said it contained books, papers, a jewelry box and clothes with a total declared customs value of $140 but did not disclose the currency allegedly also contained in the package. According to the indictment, the package also contained $107,900 in U.S. currency and 17,120,000 in Iraqi dinar. Major Sublett allegedly failed to file a Currency or Monetary Instruments Transaction Report (CMIR) as required by federal law when transporting currency in amounts of more than $10,000 into or out of the United States.

The maximum penalty for each of the two charges contained in the indictment - bulk cash smuggling and false statements to a government agency - is five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine, to be followed by a term of up to three years of supervised release.

The indictment also contains a criminal forfeiture allegation. Specifically, if convicted of the bulk cash smuggling charge, Sublett would be ordered to forfeit the $107,900 and 17,120,000 Iraqi dinar he is alleged to have concealed in the package.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Daniel A. Petalas and Justin V. Shur of the Criminal Division's Public Integrity Section. This case is being investigated by Army Criminal Investigation Command; Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the FBI; Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation; the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice

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