Chattanooga Landscaper Charged In Case Involving Bribery Of Public Official, Money Laundering Through Afghanistan

Monday, May 5, 2014

The owner of a Chattanooga landscaping firm has been charged in a case that federal officials say involves bribery of a public official and laundering of money in Afghanistan.

An information filed against James C. Pittman at Chattanooga Federal Court says others involved include a man he was stationed with at Fort Campbell, Ky., and that man's father, who lives at Horn Lake, Miss.

The other two men are referred to in the information as Co-conspirator #1 and Co-conspirator #2.

Authorities said the bank account for the landscaping business was in Chattanooga.

The information says Co-conspirator #1 was an active duty member of the United States Army serving in Afghanistan.

It says from around October 2008 to about January 2010, the conspiracy involved bribery of a public official and the transfer of large funds from Afghanistan to Chattanooga.

The information says Co-conspirator #1, while working in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army, "would wrongfully obtain large amounts of cash, from contractors seeking to do business with the U.S. Army, and in return for his official acts with the U.S. Army."

It says on numerous occasions, Co-conspirator #1 would ship containers with cash from Afghanistan to Pittman - approximately $70,000 - with the understanding between the two that Pittman would pass the cash through his landscaping business and return most of it to Co-conspirator # 1 in the form of "salary" checks from the company bank account.

The information says the father would provide Pittman approximately $20,000 he received in cash shipped from Afghanistan for Pittman to also pass through his landscaping business and return most of it to Co-conspirator #2 in the form of "salary" checks from the company bank account.

The U.S. is seeking forfeiture of the funds allegedly taken and money laundered.

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