- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Justice Department charged five Army National Guard officers with corruption Wednesday in a suspected scheme to steer contracts for personal profit.

Law enforcement officials said four retired National Guard officers founded a company upon leaving the service, then bribed a fifth officer — an active-duty lieutenant colonel — to send contracts their way in exchange for a cut of the money.

“As captured by its motto, the Army National Guard is ‘always ready, always there’ for the American people,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell. “Unfortunately, today’s charges expose National Guard officials who were ‘always ready’ to pocket bribes and ‘always there’ to take kickbacks.”

Two of the retired officers have pleaded guilty. Sentencing hearings are set for January.

Court documents list the defendants as retired Col. Charles Sines, 56, of Stafford, Virginia; retired Lt. Col. Wesley Russell, 48, of Albany, Indiana; retired Col. Robert Porter, 50 of Columbia, Maryland; retired Sgt. Maj. Timothy Bebus, 44, of Forest Lake, Minnesota; and active-duty Sgt. 1st Class Jason Rappoccio, 39, of Hampton, South Carolina.

“The Department of Defense places special trust and confidence in its service members, particularly those in positions to influence the expenditure of taxpayer dollars,” said Robert Craig Jr., special agent in charge of the Pentagon’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

“Guardsmen hold a unique position in our society, representing both their state and military service,” Mr. Craig said. “The alleged behavior uncovered in this investigation was a disservice to both, but in no way typical of those honorable women and men that serve in our Army and Air National Guard.”

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