Army major pleads guilty to laundering money from Iraq projects

Tacoma News TribuneFebruary 9, 2011 

An Army major formerly stationed at Fort Lewis pleaded guilty Tuesday to laundering more than $47,000 that was supposed to be spent on humanitarian and reconstruction projects in Iraq, federal prosecutors announced.

Maj. Kevin Schrock, 40, of Bradenburg, Ky., entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. He faces up to 20 years in prison and is expected to be sentenced in June. He also must repay $47,461 to the federal government.

Schrock, now stationed at Fort Knox, Ky., stole money from his unit’s Commanders Emergency Relief Program while he was deployed to Mosul, Iraq, with the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division from September 2004 to September 2005.

It’s not the only time a Tacoma-area Army officer has been prosecuted for misusing overseas CERP funding for personal gain. In 2009, a captain from another Stryker brigade admitted taking nearly $700,000.

The fund is designed to let commanders on the ground build good will by paying for infrastructure such as schools or police stations. At the peak of the war in Iraq, Congress was setting aside more than $500 million a year for the effort.

Schrock had access to the CERP fund on the first four months of his deployment as his unit’s “paying agent,” a job that required him to obtain cash from the Army’s finance office and distribute the money.

Later, Schrock had daily contact with contractors in Iraq from January 2005 until his brigade returned to Fort Lewis. That assignment gave him influence over selecting contractors and determining whether they’d be paid, according to his plea agreement.

Schrock came home to Lacey on leave in April 2005 and deposited $18,900 into his bank accounts in two transactions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. After his tour ended, he made 18 more cash deposits totaling more than $28,000.

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