First Iraq contract civil fraud trial set to start

[JURIST] The principals of a US contracting company accused of defrauding the US government during the Iraq war will appear Tuesday in a federal court in Virginia in the first Iraq contract civil fraud case to go to trial. Scott Custer and Michael Battles were hired by the US government to help distribute a new currency in Iraq and guard [press release] the Baghdad International Airport [GlobalSecurity.org backgrounder]. They stand accused of passing inflated invoices through their US-based security firm Custer Battles [corporate website] to defraud the government of millions of dollars.

The case is proceeding under the Federal False Claims Act [text], which allows individuals to sue privately on behalf of the government. In October 2005 the US Department of Justice [official website] declined without comment to join the two former Cluster Battles employee complainants in the case but nonetheless let the suit go ahead. Custer and Battles have denied all wrongdoing [press release]. The trial is focused on the Iraqi currency contract and is expected to last two weeks. The Washington Post has more.

Previously in JURIST's Paper Chase...

 

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