Decorated N.J. soldier indicted in Iraq theft
Army Reserve Lt. Col. Debra Harrison returned to New Jersey after 17 months in Iraq with a Purple Heart and vivid descriptions of at least two brushes with death in the combat zone.
A federal indictment unsealed yesterday alleged she also returned with $330,000 in stolen cash earmarked for Iraq reconstruction projects and played a key role in a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme that netted her a Cadillac Escalade, two handguns, prescription drugs and enough money to install a deck and hot tub at her home in Trenton.
The 25-count indictment accused Harrison and two fellow soldiers, Col. Curtis Whiteford of Utah and Lt. Col. Michael Wheeler of Wisconsin, of participating in an elaborate scam to award $8.6 million in fraudulent Iraq Coalition
Provisional Authority construction contracts to Philip Bloom, a U.S.-born construction magnate who pleaded guilty in March to bribery, conspiracy and money laundering.
The three soldiers, who were assigned to the CPA, received nearly $1 million in kickbacks in the scheme that ran from 2003 until 2005, federal officials said. Star-Ledger report by Wayne woolley
The astronaut love triangle story left me speechless the other day. This is another one. Good grief.