June 15, 2011

Former Army officer pleads guilty to bribery

A retired U.S. Army major from Moreno Valley pleaded guilty Monday to taking part in a bribery scheme involving bottled water deliveries for troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, federal prosecutors said.

Derrick L. Shoemake, 49, went before a federal judge in Los Angeles to plead guilty to a pair of bribery charge. He admitted accepting $250,000 to help fix contracts to supply bottled water, said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.

According to court document, Shoemake was deployed to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, as a contracting officer's representative in charge of coordinating and accepting delivery of bottled water in support of U.S. troops in Iraq.

While serving in Kuwait, Shoemake agreed to assist a contractor with his delivery of bottled water, Breuer said. In return, the contractor paid Shoemake a total of about $215,000, most of which was delivered to his wife in Los Angeles, the plea agreement states. Shoemake received an additional $35,000 from a second contractor for his perceived influence over the award of bottled water contracts in Afghanistan, prosecutors said. In total, Shoemake admitted receiving $250,000 from the two government contractors in 2005 and 2006.

Shoemake faces up to 15 years in prison for each bribery count, as well as a fine of $250,000 or three times the monetary equivalent of the thing of value, according to federal prosecutors.

Additionally, Shoemake has agreed to criminal forfeiture of $250,000 to the United States government, Breuer said.

As a result of the investigation, 16 others have pleaded guilty or been found guilty nationwide for their roles in the schemes at Camp Arifjan, according to prosecutors.

A sentencing date was not immediately set for Shoemake, who is cooperating in the investigation, said Richard B. Evans of the DOJ's Public Integrity Section.

1:59 AM, Jun. 14, 2011 |

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