WACO — A Killeen man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to trying to sell $2.6 million in government property while working as a government contractor in Iraq.
David Rodriguez entered a guilty plea to charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and theft of government property. U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. will sentence Rodriguez on April 14.
According to the U.S. criminal code, the conspiracy charge could carry a maximum five-year prison sentence, while the theft of government property charge could carry a sentence of up to 10 years if the total value is more than $1,000.
Rodriguez was a temporary civilian contractor working as director of logistics for Camp Taji, Iraq, from April 2012 to January 2013.
According to the indictment filed by federal investigators, Rodriguez arranged the sale and transportation of eight containers of government property worth an estimated $2.6 million to two Iraqi men in December 2012.
Court records did not state what was in the containers, but said they contained “the highest value items in the inventory,” which were scheduled to be turned over to the Iraqi government prior to September 2013.
Rodriguez coordinated the loading and transportation of the containers and also filled out paperwork to make it look legitimate, the indictment stated.
The containers were found in the possession of two Iraqi citizens, Raid Hassan Abd Ali and Sami Al Subihawi, in January 2013. The men said they purchased the property at Camp Taji.
The men said they met with Rodriguez, who initially offered to sell the property for $350,000, then lowered the amount a few days later to $210,000.
The two identified Rodriguez and another civilian contractor, Stacey Hines, in a photo lineup, the indictment stated.
Rodriguez received a total of $68,000 in cash and wire transfers to his Killeen bank account between December 2012 and March 2013. The wire transfers to his account came from Anas Abdul Razzak, and Rodriguez made corresponding cash deposits in what “appeared to be a structured manner” after he returned from Iraq in January 2013, the indictment stated.
Rodriguez initially declined to discuss the allegations with investigators while he was in Iraq. He later accepted another job as a temporary contractor in Kabul, Afghanistan, and reported there in April. While in Afghanistan, he admitted to his supervisor he had been involved in the theft, and “made the biggest mistake of his life,” according to the supervisor.
Rodriguez remains free on a $25,000 bond, according to court records.
Contact Chris McGuinness at email@example.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.