The Department of Justice on Wednesday, October 24, 2012, announced that Diyana Montes of Houston, Texas, and former employee of Kellogg, Brown and Root, (KBR) pleaded guilty to approving invoices for payment for trucking services Montes knew were not performed in exchange for monetary kickbacks.
KBR is a private contractor with operations in Afghanistan. Diyana Montes was a KBR employee between April 2008 and December 2008 stationed at the Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. KBR had a contract with the United States government for the provision of services to the Army’s Movement Control Branch.
The Movement Control Branch is responsible for contracting with local Afghan trucking companies to transport United States military equipment, fuel, and other supplies throughout Afghanistan. To accomplish its mission, the Movement Control Branch coordinated the requests for trucking services from various United States military branches with various private contractors to ensure the local Afghan trucking companies fulfilled these requests. Each request required the use of specific documents including the transportation movement requests (TMRs), which authorized the use of the local trucks for these transportation requests and services.
As a KBR employee, Montes was responsible for receiving the TMRs from various contractors, reconciling any discrepancies between the amount for services described in the TMR and the amount for services the contractors included on their invoices. Once Montes completed the reconciliation, she then sent them to other contracting personnel, who, relying on her review would approve payment to the local trucking companies.
Montes frequently reviewed the TMRs provided by the Afghanistan Trade Transportation company. The Afghanistan Trade Transportation company (ATT) contracted with the United States government for trucking services. In exchange for approximately $50,000 from ATT, consisting of $35,000 wired to her United States bank account and $15,000 paid in cash, Montes approved and moved forward ATT’s invoices for services that were not provided. Montes knew at the time she reviewed the ATT invoices that the company had fraudulently filled out the paperwork, invoicing for services it had not provided. With this knowledge, Montes nonetheless passed the invoices on for approval for payment.
Montes plead guilty to one count of bribery for her role in this scheme to fraudulently bill the United States Army for trucking services that were not provided.