30 October 2011 - A Marine in Iraq sent home $43,000 in stolen cash by hiding it in a footlocker among American flags. A soldier shipped thousands more concealed in a toy stuffed animal, and an embassy employee tricked the State Department into wiring $240,000 into his foreign bank account.
As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, the number of people indicted and convicted by the U.S. for bribery, theft and other reconstruction-related crimes in both countries is rapidly rising, according to two government reports released Sunday.
"This is a boom industry for us," Stuart Bowen, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, or SIGIR, said in an interview.
"Investigators and auditors had a productive quarter," said a report on the theft of Afghanistan aid by Steven Trent, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR. The report covered August through October.
In the last 13 months U.S. investigators in Iraq secured the indictments of 22 people for alleged aid-related offenses, bringing to 69 the total since the SIGIR office was created in 2004. Convictions stand at 57. Several hundred more suspects are under scrutiny in 102 open investigations and those numbers are expected to climb. read more>>>