Two Schofield Barracks soldiers split $50,000 for steering a $1.5 million job to a defense contractor when they were both deployed in Afghanistan, according to a federal grand jury indictment returned yesterday.
The indictment charges Charles O. Finch and Gary M. Canteen with conspiracy, bribery and money laundering.
Finch was a sergeant with the 725th Logistical Task Force in Bagram, Afghanistan, from January 2004 to January 2005. He was the task force’s noncommissioned officer in charge of operations support. He was responsible for coordinating trucking and transportation service into and out of Bagram.
Canteen was the task force’s first sergeant in Bagram from February 2004 to February 2005 and shared living quarters there with Finch.
The indictment also charges AZ Corp., the company that received the contract, and its owners, Assad John Ramin and his brother Tahir Ramin, with conspiracy, bribery and money laundering.
The Ramins, through their company, paid $50,000 for Finch to recommend AZ for a U.S. Department of Defense trucking and transportation services contract, according to the indictment. The money went into the bank account of Da Spot Inc., Canteen’s T-shirt and souvenir business in Honolulu.
Canteen’s wife withdrew $25,000 from the account. Canteen later purchased an official bank check with money from the account and made the check payable to Finch, the indictment said.
When investigators later questioned Finch and Canteen about the $50,000, both lied about where it was from and what it was for, according to the indictment.
The government paid AZ $1,471,975 in December 2005 for trucking and transportation services.