The FBI has reported that four Virginia men, including two longtime employees of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, were arrested October 4, 2011 on charges stemming from an indictment that accuses them of taking part in a conspiracy involving more than $20 million in bribes and kickback payments and the planned steering of a $780 million government contract to a favored contractor.

The defendants include Kerry F. Khan, 53, of Alexandria, Va.; his son, Lee A. Khan, 30, of Fairfax, Va.; Michael A. Alexander, 55, of Woodbridge, Va.; and Harold F. Babb, 60, of Sterling, Va. Kerry Khan and Alexander are employed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Babb is director of contracts for a company that did business with the government.

All four men were taken into custody on charges contained in an indictment that was returned by a grand jury, under seal, on Sept. 16, 2011, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The arrests took place as authorities executed search warrants at seven locations in Virginia and one in the District of Columbia. The indictment was unsealed the day of the arrests.

According to the indictment, Kerry Khan and Alexander helped funnel more than $45 million in payments to a favored company through a federal government contract they oversaw, with plans to steer hundreds of millions more to the business. Approximately $20 million in fraudulent expenses were built into the invoices, and proceeds went to all four defendants.

All four defendants were indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and wire fraud and aiding and abetting and causing an illlegal act to be done, as well as one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Kerry Khan and Alexander also were indicted on one count of receipt of a bribe by a public official, and Babb was indicted on one count of unlawful kickbacks.

If convicted of the charges, Kerry Khan and Alexander face a maximum of 40 years in prison. Babb faces up to 35 years, and Lee Khan faces a sentence of up to 25 years.

The United States has obtained warrants to seize funds in 29 bank accounts and to seize three luxury vehicles and seven high-end watches. In addition, the indictment includes a forfeiture allegation against 16 real properties financed in whole or in part with proceeds of the crimes. The United States has begun the process of securing forfeiture of those 16 properties, which include 14 properties in Virginia, one in West Virginia, and one in Florida.

The indictment also provides the defendants notice that, if convicted, the United States will seek forfeiture of all proceeds of the charged offenses.

The case is being prosecuted by the Fraud and Public Corruption and the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Sections of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Their coordinated efforts with the FBI, the Office of the Inspector General for the Small Business Administration, the Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Army Criminal Investigation Command and the IRS led to the indictment and arrests.

Given the global economic climate, the federal government’s burgeoning debt crisis, and the increased public scrutiny of government expenses law enforcement has stepped up enforcement of contract procurement fraud, abuse, and waste. The government will prosecute these offenses rigorously and knowledgeable defense counsel should be sought immediately by those targeted by a federal investigation.

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in Federal Criminal Defense matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or ferrari@ferrari-legal.com.

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