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Tennessee man guilty in Afghanistan bribe scheme

A Rossville man has pleaded guilty to laundering some $250,000 in bribe money received from Afghan contractors in Afghanistan, the U.S. Attorney's Office says.

James C. Pittman, 45, pleaded guilty last Thursday before Magistrate Judge William B. Carter according to a news release.

Pittman was accused along with Jimmy W. Dennis, 44, a former first sergeant with the U.S. Army. Dennis pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee to conspiracy to launder money.

Court records show that Dennis was a member of a U.S. Army team at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan that bought supplies from local Afghan vendors for humanitarian relief. From March 2008 through March 2009, Dennis and a partner steered contracts to favored vendors in return and were paid about $250,000 in cash bribes, records show.

Dennis smuggled the bribe money back to the United States hidden in packages addressed to his wife, his father and a former Army friend, Pittman. Dennis sent $80,000 to $100,000 to his father in packages that contained toy trucks and in a hope chest, the release stated.

While on leave, according to court documents, Dennis met with Pittman and asked him to help launder the money.

This investigation was conducted by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the FBI, the Army Criminal Investigative Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigation.

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