War Profiteering and Corruption

From Lexington, S.C. to the White House

By TOM TURNIPSEED

A businesswoman in my home county of Lexington, South Carolina, pleaded guilty on August 16, 2007 to defrauding U.S. taxpayers of $20.5 million in shipping costs for Pentagon supplies. According to a front page story in The State newspaper, “Charlene Corley, 46, pleaded guilty to a nine-year fraud that included charging the Pentagon $998,798.38 for shipping two 19 cent bolt washers.”

The State reported Pentagon records showed that C&D Distributors, co-owned by Ms Corley and her sister Darlene Wooten, received $455,000 to ship three machine screws costing $1.31 each to Marines in Habbaniyah, Iraq. Ms. Wooten committed suicide in October, 2007 and Ms. Corley’s attorney contended Corley was a victim of her deceased sister’s activities, but federal prosecutors said Corley “knew the shipping costs, worked with local suppliers to get equipment for the Pentagon, corresponded with the Defense Department and was a contact on the computerized forms used to bid on the contracts.” Federal prosecutor Kevin McDonald said, “These twin sisters split the assets. Charlene Corley and Darlene Wooten equally shared in the proceeds of this fraud.” With the proceeds the sisters bought 4 beach houses; 3 Mercedes S and SL models; a 2007 BMW 550i; 5 slightly older Lexus models; a 23 foot outboard Suntracker boat; a 10 foot inboard Kawaski jet, and a vacation to Alaska.

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