MEMPHIS, TENN. — Two former Army soldiers have pleaded guilty to accepting about $250,000 in bribes from contractors in Afghanistan and shipping the cash back to the United States to be laundered through a landscaping business.
Former 1st Sgt. Jimmy W. Dennis, 44, of Clarksville, and 45-year-old James C. Pittman, of Rossville, Georgia, told judges during separate hearings that they took the money in exchange for steering work to favored Afghan contractors. They face up to 20 years in prison when they are sentenced in September.
The guilty pleas are the latest cases to arise from bribery allegations involving U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. At least six other soldiers have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison, including four in Colorado and two from Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Dennis and Pittman were also stationed at Fort Campbell. Dennis was assigned to the Humanitarian Aid Yard at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan from March 2008 through March 2009. He said he mailed packages of $80,000 to $100,000 in toy trucks and a chest to a family member in Mississippi. It was then sent to Pittman, a one-time Army friend who laundered it through his landscaping company in Tennessee.
Pittman told a judge in Chattanooga on May 15 he would cut payroll checks with the funds.
The family member in Mississippi is listed only as co-conspirator No. 1 in court documents and has not been charged.
As part of a plea agreement, Dennis will forfeit $250,000, two Harley-Davidson motorcycles and a sport utility vehicle. Pittman will give up nearly $90,000 in cash.
Dennis served 20 years in the Army before being discharged in 2010. Court records list Pittman as a former soldier stationed at Fort Campbell, but do not give any details about his military service.
Dennis is scheduled for sentencing Sept. 4. Pittman’s hearing is set for Sept. 8.
Barrouquere reported from Louisville, Kentucky.