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Robert J. Stein Jr. & Phillip H. Bloom Iraq Construction Fraud Story
This article appeared freely on the Internet on November 20, 2005 http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/11/17/iraq.contracts.ap/?section=cnn_latest and is archived here only for scholarship, research, education, and personal use by those previously requesting it in accordance with the "fair use" provision in Title 17 of the copyright law.
2nd arrest of a Jew in alleged Iraq kickbacks
Accused Robert J. Stein
Had fraud record when hired for reconstruction effort
Expatriot accused of bribing officials Iraq
Thursday, November 17, 2005
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. occupation officials gave a man with a federal fraud conviction control of millions of dollars for Iraqi reconstruction. Now the man is charged with accepting kickbacks to steer contracts to a businessman.
Robert J. Stein Jr., 50, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, used some of the bribe money to make a restitution payment for his earlier conviction and his wife used some to pay federal taxes, according to a federal affidavit.
Stein faces conspiracy, money laundering, wire fraud and other charges stemming from his alleged role in helping Philip H. Bloom, a U.S. citizen who has lived in Romania for many years, get contracts in Iraq worth more than $13 million, federal authorities said Thursday.
Prosecutors say Bloom, 65, paid kickbacks of more than $630,000 to Stein and others. Bloom has been charged with conspiracy and money laundering stemming from an investigation that Justice Department officials say could result in additional charges against others.
Stein, who worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and his wife bought real estate, cars, jewelry and home improvements with the money, according to federal affidavits made public Wednesday and Thursday. He and other provisional authority officials allegedly helped rig bids for Bloom and three companies he controlled for contracts to do work in Al-Hillah and Karbala, two cities about 60 miles south of Baghdad.
Bloom was arrested Sunday at New Jersey's Newark International Airport, while Stein was arrested Monday in Fayetteville, authorities said. They are being held in federal custody, pending hearings in U.S. District Court in Washington beginning next week.
Robert A. Mintz, Bloom's lawyer, said he is reviewing the allegations against his client and had no comment. Stein was represented by a federal public defender in a brief appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville. Elizabeth Luck, a spokeswoman for the public defender's office, declined to comment on Stein's case.
Stein was the comptroller and funding officer for the provisional authority's South Central Region.
Court records show he was convicted in 1996 for defrauding a financial institution. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight months in prison and three years of supervised release. He also was ordered to repay the unidentified institution $45,000.
According to the affidavit supporting the latest charges, he used $200 of the money from Bloom to make a restitution payment. His wife used another $5,821 to pay 2001 federal taxes -- a payment made in January 2004, the affidavit said.
It is unclear whether provisional authority officials knew about Stein's prior conviction. Jim Mitchell, spokesman for the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said there was a lack of oversight when the provisional authority was hiring people because the inspector general's office was not yet in place there.
The U.S.-controlled provisional authority ran Iraq from just after the March 2003 invasion until June 2004. It had final say over spending from the Development Fund for Iraq, made up mainly of Iraqi oil revenues.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, said Thursday that the complaints against Bloom and Stein deserve congressional hearings.
"Now that there is concrete evidence of fraud involving U.S. officials and the Development Fund for Iraq, we have an obligation not to avert our oversight," Waxman wrote Rep. Chris Shays, R-Connecticut, chairman of a House Government Reform subcommittee that has examined fraud allegations in the U.N. oil-for-food program.
The allegations against Bloom and Stein have their roots in audits performed by Inspector General Stuart W. Bowen Jr.
Mitchell said Bowen is working on more than 50 cases involving Iraq reconstruction, and has referred up to a dozen to the Justice Department.
"This is the first case and there will be more," Mitchell said.
At one point, Bloom was allegedly paying at least $200,000 a month to provisional authority officials and others, although the affidavit does not say for how long.
Projects won by Bloom's companies included a new police academy for Al-Hillah and renovation of the public library in Karbala. Bloom's Romanian-based companies are Global Business Group, GBG Holdings and GBG-Logistics Division, the affidavit said.
This article appeared freely on the Internet on November 20, 2005
http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyid=2005-11-17T194909Z_01_SCH770760_RTRUKOC_0_US-CRIME-IRAQ-USA.xml and is archived here only for scholarship, research, education, and personal use by those previously requesting it in accordance with the "fair use" provision in Title 17 of the copyright law.
Reuters Reports two charged in Iraq contract bribe scheme
Thu Nov 17, 2005
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former official with the U.S. governing administration in Iraq and a contractor have been arrested on charges involving a bribery and fraud scheme, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.
The defendants were identified as Robert Stein, comptroller and funding officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority - South Central Region in 2003 and 2004, and Philip Bloom, the owner of numerous construction and service companies.
Beginning in December of 2003, Stein and Bloom conspired to rig bids so that numerous CPA contracts were awarded to Bloom's businesses, according to court documents. The total value of the contracts awarded to Bloom exceeded $13 million.
According to affidavits filed in federal court in Washington in support of the arrest warrants, Bloom paid Stein and others hundreds of thousands of dollars in money and gifts so that contracts would be awarded to Bloom and his companies.
The bribes and gratuities paid to Stein included payments for the purchase of automobiles, jewelry and real estate, according to the court documents.
Stein, 50, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, is in custody there after his arrest earlier in the week, Justice Department officials said. Bloom, a U.S. citizen living in Romania and Iraq, was arrested in Newark, New Jersey, on November 13 and appeared on Wednesday before a magistrate judge in Washington.
The arrests resulted from an eight-month investigation. Stein and Bloom were charged with conspiring to commit money laundering and fraud. If convicted, they both face up to 30 years in prison, the officials said.
The CPA was headed by U.S. diplomat Paul Bremer, and ceased to exist in June 2004, when the United States handed over sovereignty to the Iraqis.
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