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September 18, 2015

Former Navy Noncommissioned Officer Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes While Serving in Afghanistan

A former Navy noncommissioned officer pleaded guilty today to accepting approximately $25,000 in cash bribes from vendors while he served in Afghanistan.

The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher P. Canova of the Northern District of Florida, Assistant Director in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Washington, D.C., Field Office, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John F. Sopko, Director Frank Robey of the Major Procurement Fraud Unit of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (Army CID), Acting Special Agent in Charge Paul Sternal of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office and Brigadier General Keith M. Givens of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (Air Force OSI).

Donald P. Bunch, 46, of Pace, Florida, pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida to a one-count information charging him with accepting bribes. Sentencing is scheduled to take place on Dec. 8, 2015.

From February to August 2009, Bunch worked as an U.S. Navy E8 senior chief at the Humanitarian Assistance Yard (HA Yard) at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. The HA Yard purchased supplies from local Afghan vendors for use as part of the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, which enabled U.S. military commanders to respond to urgent humanitarian relief requirements in Afghanistan.

Bunch was responsible for replenishing food and supplies such as rice, beans and clothing at the HA Yard, and for selecting vendors from a pre-determined list to provide the necessary items. In connection with his guilty plea, Bunch admitted that he had been instructed by his predecessor to rotate among the vendors.

According to admissions made in connection with his plea agreement, certain Afghan vendors offered, and Bunch accepted, money for the purpose of influencing his selection of vendors. Bunch admitted that he received a total of approximately $25,000 from the vendors and that, as a result, he secured on their behalf more frequent and lucrative contracts. Bunch also admitted that he sent greeting cards stuffed with proceeds of the bribes to his wife at their residence in Florida, and that they used the money to pay for the construction of a new home.

This case was investigated by the FBI, SIGAR, Army CID, DCIS and Air Force OSI. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Daniel P. Butler of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Goldberg of the Northern District of Florida.

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