A former Defense Department employee was indicted Wednesday on charges of accepting bribes while deployed to Iraq. Bonnie Murphy, who was a civilian disposal officer at Camp Victory, allegedly accepted jewelry from an Iraqi contracting firm for her role in helping it receive and maintain three Army service contracts, according to a Justice Department news release.

Murphy, 59, of Indialantic, Fla., deployed to Iraq in December 2003 as part of a Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service team. Murphy and other team employees were charged with managing and disposing of surplus DOD property, including hazardous waste.

From July through December 2004, the indictment alleges, Murphy accepted several pieces of jewelry worth $9,000 from the owners and employees of an Iraqi contracting company. Murphy allegedly accepted the items because of her numerous official acts that benefited the company, including recommending that the company be hired without undergoing a competitive bidding process.

Employee allegedly took $50,000 in bribesGheevarghese Pappen, a retired U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee, pleaded guilty Thursday in Savannah, Ga., to soliciting and accepting nearly $50,000 in bribes while working at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

Pappen, 62, of Savannah, was working for the U.S. Army Area Support Group, Host Nation Office, which supports U.S. military operations in Iraq.

While working in Camp Arifjan securing apartments for Army employees, Pappen accepted money from a Kuwaiti realtor for assisting the realtor in obtaining contracts with the Army, according to a Justice Department news release.

Pappen faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison, a three-year term of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. He is presently free on bond.

Military credit unions warn against scamsWASHINGTON — Military credit unions are again warning members not to fall victim to e-mail scams asking for customers’ financial and personal information.

In the last week, both the Navy Federal Credit Union and the Marine Federal Credit Union have posted warnings about e-mail “phishing” scams where unknown opportunists are posing as employees asking for credit card numbers, financial information and passwords for alleged account verification.

Both financial institutions have said it is against their policies to solicit personal passwords or account data from customers via e-mail, making any message asking for that information clearly fraudulent.

In the latest scam, an e-mail informs Marine credit union customers that their accounts have been locked because “it may have been compromised by outside parties” and links to an unsecured Web site which includes a copy of the credit union’s logo. The site is not affiliated with the credit union.

Credit union officials encourage their customers to call and verify any suspicious correspondence before giving out any personal information.

Both companies said they are investigating the source of the scams. Officials from the Air Force Federal Credit Union reported similar problems earlier this year.

For more information, visit or

Contractor gets jail for Edelweiss briberyA contractor was sentenced last week to six months in prison and six months’ monitored home confinement for paying bribes to the former contracting director of the Army-owned Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany.

Ellis Aaron Abramson, 40, of Merrick, N.Y., was sentenced Wednesday at the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York, in Central Islip. Abramson, former owner of Bramson House Inc., had pleaded guilty to paying bribes in connection with contracts awarded to his company by Edelweiss.

Abramson admitted to fraudulently inflating the costs for certain items and submitting the inflated invoices to the contracting director for approval. He then gave $23,000 in cash and other benefits directly and indirectly to the contracting director.

The former contracting director, Steven G. Potoski, was previously arrested but not named in the Justice Department press release. His case is pending. A third man, Alvan Vance McQueen II, 58, of Shelbyville, Ind., was sentenced in April to one year in prison and one year of supervised release.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now