Rossville Man Pleads Guilty In Laundering Bribe Payments From Afghanistan

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Two individuals, including a Rossville man, have pleaded guilty for their roles in a scheme to launder approximately $250,000 in bribes received from Afghan contractors in Afghanistan.

Jimmy W. Dennis, 44, formerly of Clarksville, Tn., and a former first sergeant with the U.S. Army, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Samuel H. May Jr. of the Western District of Tennessee to conspiracy to launder approximately $250,000 in bribe payments he received from Afghan contractors in Afghanistan.  Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 4.

James C. Pittman, 45, of Rossville, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge William B. Carter of the Eastern District of Tennessee for his role in the conspiracy.  Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 8.

According to pleadings filed at the time of the guilty pleas, from March 2008 through March 2009, Dennis was an Army sergeant assigned as a paying agent in the Humanitarian Aid Yard (HA Yard) at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.  Dennis was a member of the team in the HA Yard that purchased supplies from local Afghan vendors for distribution as part of the Commander’s Emergency Response Program for urgent humanitarian relief requirements in Afghanistan.  Dennis and a partner entered into an agreement to steer contracts to certain Afghan vendors in return for approximately $250,000 in cash bribes. 

 Authorities said Dennis smuggled the bribe money back to the United States hidden in packages addressed to his wife, his father and a former Army friend, Pittman.  Dennis sent $80,000 to $100,000 to his father from Afghanistan in packages that contained toy “jingle trucks,” colorfully decorated trucks or buses in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Dennis hid the money in the rear compartment of the toy trucks.  Dennis also shipped a hope chest to his father containing approximately $100,000 in cash in a concealed compartment.

 Also according to court documents, while on leave, Dennis met with Pittman, advised him that he had obtained money through kickbacks, and asked him for help laundering the funds.  Pittman, owner of a landscaping business, agreed to “run through his company” these bribery proceeds.  After returning to Afghanistan, Dennis sent approximately $60,000 to Pittman contained in toy jingle trucks.  Dennis also arranged for his father to send approximately $20,000 to Pittman, who returned it in the form of purported salary checks from Pittman’s company.

These matters are being investigated by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the FBI, the Army Criminal Investigative Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigation.  The prosecution is being handled by Trial Attorney Daniel Butler of the Criminal Division and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frederick Godwin of the Western District of Tennessee and James Brooks of the Eastern District of Tennessee.



1 Person In Critical Condition After Wreck On Jones Gap Road

One person is in critical condition after a wreck on Jones Gap Road. Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies, along with HCEMS and fire personnel, were on the scene of the accident near the 13,300 block of Jones Gap Road. Due to the crash, north and southbound Jones Gap Road was closed between the gas station (at the corner of Jones Gap Road and Highway 111) through to the ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Man Charged In Shooting

A Signal Mountain has been charged after a shooting near the 3100 block of Highway 127 in Sequatchie County on Friday night. Stewart Luttrell, 31, was charged with aggravated assault. Deputies found a man who was shot in the side. Luttrell was then located in a wooded area. The shooting victim was in stable condition. Luttrell was taken to the Sequatchie ... (click for more)

Mayor Invites Civil War II - And Response (16)

I just received an email from the Mayor stating that he filed paperwork to remove the city of Chattanooga as the trustee for the Confederate Cemetery on Third Street. I understand the Mayor's intent was to distance the city from it's racist past and subsequent hate, but I feel like this is an interesting move without much thought of the consequences. The Mayor prefaced his ... (click for more)

Berke Plan To Solve Discrimination Is To Kick Dead Veterans To The Curb

Racism and discrimination is wrong. What is the best way for a parent to teach a child the evils of discrimination? Should the parent demonstrate and repetitively incentivize the proper behavior? Or, would it be more productive to badger the child over and over again for the sins of the child's g-g-g-grandfather who died 150 years ago? Would burning the personal effects of the grandfather ... (click for more)

Unbeaten Boyd-Buchanan Wins Hixson Invitational

The Upperman Bees came to Chattanooga on Saturday, hoping to improve on their second-place finish from a year ago in the Hixson Invitational volleyball tournament. The Bees were again the best in their pool as they defeated teams from Hixson, Grace, McEwen and Notre Dame. They got a note of revenge in the Gold division semifinal with a 25-13, 25-17 win over defending champ ... (click for more)

Baylor Wins Showdown At The Sunsphere Volleyball

The Baylor Lady Red Raider volleyball team got its season off to a great start this weekend by winning eight straight matches and claiming the championship hardware in the Gold division of the Showdown at the Sunsphere tournament in Knoxville. Baylor had wins over King's Academy, Farragut, Heritage, Siegel, Oak Ridge, Brentwood and Hardin Valley with another win over Heritage. ... (click for more)