Former security firm Blackwater settles with criminal prosecutors

August 9, 2012
Blackwater
“A special police SWAT team from Blackwater. Credits: Blackwater/Police Times”

Examiner.com on August 8, 2012 released the following:

“BY: JIM KOURI

The liberal-left’s least favorite company, security contractor Blackwater, through it’s new corporate name Acadmi LLC, agreed on Tuesday to pay more than $7 million in fines in order to settle federal charges regarding alleged arms smuggling and other crimes.

The documents. which were unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Raleigh, North Carolina, stated that the company’s executives agreed to pay the fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement to settle all 17 violations of law.

The agreement also acknowledges and references a $42 million settlement between the company and the Department of State as part of a settlement of violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations, according to officials at Justice Department.

According to Justice Department documents, list of violations includes the possession automatic weapons in the United States without registration, deceptive statements made to government firearms officials about weapons tranferred to the Kingdom of Jordan, and passing secret plans for armored personnel carriers to Sweden and Denmark without U.S. government approval.

A separate violation entailed illegally shipping body armor to nations overseas.

“Compliance with the firearms laws of the United States in both domestic and international commerce is essential to maintaining order and accountability,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Wayne L. Dixie. “Whether it is an individual or a corporation, we will enforce the provisions of the federal gun laws equally. If violations are discovered, we will move to hold those responsible for the violations accountable for their actions.”

Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials said Blackwater, which has held billions in U.S. security contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, repeatedly flouted U.S. laws.

Blackwater was founded in North Carolina in 1997 by a former Navy SEAL officer, Erik Prince, and the company became well-known working for the U.S. government during the Iraq War. Prince is said to be worth over one billion dollars.

IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett stated, “High-ranking corporate officials hold positions of trust not only in their companies but also in the eyes of the public. That trust is broken when such officials abuse their power and commit crimes to line their own pockets. An international fraud of this magnitude requires a coordinated effort among law enforcement agencies to stop those involved from profiting from their wrongdoing.”

A provision in Academi-United States settlement prohibits the company executives from making any public statements “contradicting any aspect” of the agreement. Any such statement opens the door to nullification of the settlement by the U.S. Justice Department.

“Blackwater profited substantially from Department of Defense (DoD) contracts in support of overseas contingency operations over the past decade,” commented Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Southeast Field Office, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS). “This investigation showed that no contractor is above the law and that all who do business with the DoD will be held accountable. With this agreement, Blackwater acknowledged their wrongdoing and took steps to remedy and mitigate the damage they caused to the United States and the public trust.”

“For an extended period of time, Academi/Blackwater operated in a manner which demonstrated systemic disregard for U.S. government laws and regulations. Today’s announcement should serve as a warning to others that allegations of wrongdoing will be aggressively investigated,” said Chris Briese, Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI.

The agreement also acknowledges and references a $42 million settlement between the company and the Department of State as part of a civil administrative settlement of violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations, according to the Justice Department.

“The left-wing media and political activists hate the military and police but fear being fingered as anti-Americans, so all their hatred for soldiers and cops is transferred to private firms that offer military and law enforcement services,” said Sid Franes, a former Marine, police detective and security firm owner.

“Now that we have an administration that shares the views of the radical left, you will see more and more cases against private security, military and intelligence firms,” Franes predicted.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Ex-Blackwater guards appeal to Supreme Court

October 22, 2011

Politico on October 21, 2011 released the following:

Posted by Josh Gerstein

“Four American workers for the Blackwater security firm who were accused of massacring civilians in Iraq in 2007 are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstitute a ruling that threw out a criminal case charging the security contractors with manslaughter and weapons violations.

U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina dismissed the case in 2009 on the grounds that the evidence was improperly tainted by statements the men made under threat of losing their jobs. However, in April of this year, a federal appeals court granted the U.S. government’s request to overturn that decision and reinstated the unusual prosecution for crimes allegedly committed outside U.S. territory.

The four guards formerly employed by Blackwater (now Xe) to protect State Department personnel were charged in 2008 with involvement in a shooting incident in Baghdad’s Al Nisur Square in 2007 that left at least 14 Iraqis dead.

Prosecutors said in court filings that the guards fired live ammunition willy-nilly into crowds and some defendants had a pattern of abusive words or actions towards Iraqis. The defense argued in court filings that any shooting took place in response to perceived threats and may not even have come from their clients.

The petition to restore Urbina’s original ruling was filed with the Supreme Court on Monday, but has not been formally docketed while the Court considers whether portions of the petition can be kept under seal. The former Blackwater workers appealing to the high court are Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard and Donald Ball. The case against a fifth contractor in the convoy, Nicholas Slatten, was dropped by prosecutors.

A sixth man on the Blackwater crew during the altercation, Jeremy Ridgeway, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. He pled guilty in 2008 to manslaughter and attempted manslaughter charges

President Barack Obama announced Friday that nearly all U.S. military personnel will leave Ieave Iraq by the end of 2011. However, approximately 4,000 to 5,000 civilian security personnel under contract to the U.S. government are expected to remain in Iraq, a White House official said.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Blackwater Case Gets Fresh Prosecution Team

September 28, 2011

Main Justice on September 28, 2011 released the following:

“By Mary Jacoby

The federal prosecutors who oversaw a troubled investigation of Blackwater security guards accused in a deadly 2007 shooting incident in Baghdad have been replaced.

District of Columbia Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth Kohl and Jonathan Malis, along with Department of Justice trial attorneys Stephen Ponticello and Barry Jonas, are off the case, according to the BLT. D.C. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony Asuncion, John Han and T. Patrick Martin are on.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina in December 2009 dismissed the Blackwater case in a scathing opinion, citing prosecutor misconduct, as Main Justice reported at the time. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in April reversed Urbina, calling his analysis flawed and sending the case back to him to be reheard. Urbina has asked for a status update from prosecutors by the end of the month.

In the 2007 incident, the Blackwater guards were accused of firing on Iraqi civilians, killing 17. Urbina’s dismissal of the case was greeted with shock and anger in Iraq. Blackwater has since been named Xe Services.

At issue was the extent to which the first team of prosecutors used immunized statements from the Blackwater guards to build their case. Because the guards worked under contract to the State Department and were required to answer questions about the shooting, the defense argued those statements were compelled and could not be used to convict the defendants.

The fresh legal team was installed “out of an abundance of caution to place this prosecution on the strongest possible footing with respect to any future Kastigar litigation,” D.C. U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman William Miller said in a statement, the BLT reported.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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