Ex-Army officer sentenced in fraud scheme

June 5, 2009 at 12:29 AM
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TRENTON, N.J., June 5 (UPI) -- A former U.S. Army Reserves lieutenant colonel was sentenced to 30 months in prison Thursday for her role in a lucrative fraud scheme in Iraq.

Debra Harrison, 50, of Trenton, N.J., also is to pay $366,640 in restitution and serve two years of supervised release following her prison term, the U.S. Justice Department said in a release.

Harrison had pleaded guilty to one wire fraud count last July, admitting that in August 2004 she received a Cadillac Escalade from Philip Bloom, a contractor at the Coalition Provisional Authority-South Central Region in Al-Hillah, Iraq.

Harrison also admitted taking more than $300,000 from the authority while deployed in Iraq and using some it to make improvements at her home. She also admitted helping to move unregistered firearms from a hotel in North Carolina to the home of Robert Stein, a co-conspirator who worked with Harrison at the authority in Iraq.

Bloom and Stein were convicted and sentenced to prison earlier, as were Col. Curtis Whiteford and Lt. Col. Michael Wheeler. One civilian, Seymour Morris Jr., was acquitted and another, William Driver, is awaiting trial.

Morris was acquitted; and Driver, whose case was severed, is currently awaiting trial.

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