I have several questions regarding this, just the latest incident.
U.S. paid $1 million to ship two 19-cent washers
The U.S. Defense Department said on Thursday that a flawed system designed to rush supplies to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan let a small-parts supplier improperly collect $998,798.38 to ship two 19-cent washers.
Loopholes in the automated purchasing system have been fixed and the ill-gotten gains were being returned to the U.S. Treasury, said Army Lt. Col. Brian Maka, a Pentagon spokesman.
The owners of C&D Distributors of Lexington, South Carolina, submitted online bids to the Defense Department to supply hardware components, plumbing fixtures, electronic equipment and other items, according to court papers.
Related shipping claims were processed automatically "to streamline the resupply of items to combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan," said a statement by Reginald Lloyd, U.S. attorney for the district of South Carolina.
Lloyd said C&D fabricated shipping costs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, as in the case of the washers, although the value of the items purchased rarely topped $100.
Lock washers place tension against a nut after tightening, to help prevent the nut from loosening.
Maka said the Defense Criminal Investigative Service launched an investigation last September into invoices submitted to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, or
"DFAS has put in place the internal controls necessary to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again," Maka said of the shipping fraud. "The money that they stole will be returned to the U.S. Treasury."
Charlene Corley, 47, of Lexington, South Carolina, as well as her company, C&D Distributors LLC, pleaded guilty to wire-fraud and money-laundering conspiracy charges in federal court in Columbia, South Carolina.
Darlene Wooten, Corley's twin and co-owner of C&D Distributors, committed suicide at her lake house last October after being contacted by federal investigators about the fraud, Lloyd said.
The improperly collected funds were used to buy beach houses, luxury cars, boats, jewelry and vacations among other things, prosecutors said.
Conspiracy to commit wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Conspiracy to commit money laundering carries up to 20 years and a fine of $500,000, or twice the value of the property involved in the laundering transactions, whichever is greater.
1) We have been hearing about this type of overcharging for many, many years. Why are they just now putting into place a system to make sure this does not happen again. And will this new system really stop all overcharging OR simply catch a few here and there?
2) I do not give a damn about streamlining to get products to our soldiers promptly when it comes to this type of "financial carnage". Someone in the chain should be held accountable for not pulling this and not sending it on to the department to submit payment to these crooks.
Meanwhile, there are starving children right here in the United States who could have benefitted from our tax dollars to put food in their mouths.
Odds are, these crooks will serve a minimum sentence that is no skin off their nose. Will they have to repay the government for their "error"? Probably not. So, crime will have paid.