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Friday, August 17, 2007

$1,000,000 shipping charge for lock-washers

Remember when the government used to pay extraordinary sums for miniscule, inexpensive items? You remember - $500 toilet seats, $20 nuts and bolts. From the "some things will never change" department:

The U.S. Defense Department disclosed on Thursday that a flawed system designed to rush supplies to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan had let a small-parts supplier improperly collect $998,798.38 to ship two 19-cent washers.

Shipping claims were processed automatically “to streamline the re-supply of items to combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said a statement by Reginald Lloyd, U.S. attorney for the district of South Carolina. This loophole in the automated purchasing system has been fixed and the ill-gotten gains are being returned to the U.S. Treasury according to a Pentagon spokesman.

The lock-washer incident was the last in a series of abuses by twin sisters running C&D Distributors, a South Carolina company that bilked the Pentagon out of about $20.5 million in fraudulent shipping costs. The pair submitted online bids to the Defense Department to supply hardware components, plumbing fixtures, electronic equipment and other items, then fabricated shipping costs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, as in the case of the washers, although the value of the items purchased rarely topped $100.

Charlene Corley, 47, of Lexington, South Carolina, as well as her company, C&D Distributors LLC, pled guilty to wire-fraud and money-laundering conspiracy charges in federal court in Columbia, South Carolina. Darlene Wooten, Corley’s twin and co-owner of C&D Distributors, committed suicide at her lake house last October after being contacted by federal investigators about the fraud.

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Blogger Parson said...

I'm in the wrong business...

title="comment permalink">August 18, 2007 1:04 AM  

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