US Army Sergeant pleads guilty to bribery conspiracy
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): A US Army Sergeant on Thursday pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery in connection with contracting for supplies while serving in Afghanistan, the Department of Justice said.
Ramiro Pena, 43, of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to commit bribery.
Sentencing of Pena, who served in Afghanistan from January 2008 to September 2009 is scheduled for October 15. On behalf of the Army, between June 2008 and March 2009, Pena and his supervisor Jimmy Dennis entered into approximately 217 contracts for more than $30 million.
In his guilty plea, Pena admitted that he received money and jewelry from the vendors – primarily through Dennis – in return for Pena and Dennis taking action favorable to the vendors in connection with the HA Yard contracts.
Specifically, Pena admitted that he received from the vendors, through Dennis, a Rolex watch in addition to $100,000 in bribe payments, which he received in approximately six installments.
Pena admitted that he sent some of the cash to his family in Kentucky, which he dispersed throughout numerous greeting cards to avoid drawing attention to the thickness of any particular envelope.
Pena also used the bribe money to pay his family’s personal expenses both in Afghanistan and in the US, and to purchase a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
In May 2014, Dennis pleaded guilty in the Western District of Tennessee to conspiracy to launder bribe payments. In January 2015, Dennis was sentenced to serve 41 months in prison and was ordered to forfeit $115,000.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.