Chicago-area defense contractor arrested for stealing gov't money

September 23, 2011 4:51:30 AM PDT
A suburban Chicago man employed by a private security firm was arrested at Miami International Airport Wednesday and charged with bribery, fraud and theft of government funds. Raul Borcuta, 32, is a former member of the U.S. Army who now appears to live in Yorkville. Borcuta was taken into custody when he returned to the U.S. from Europe. In court documents just made public, Borcuta and two co-conspirators, Zachery Taylor and Jared Close, are charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, bribery and theft of government money.

Federal officials say Borcuta bribed U.S. Army contracting officials Taylor and Close with $10,000 each to award him with the contract to provide two armored vehicles to be used by the government in the Farah Province in Afghanistan. Members of that government had apparently received death threats from insurgent groups. According to the indictment unsealed by the Northern District of Illinois on Wednesday, Close and Taylor were formerly U.S. Army staff sergeants assigned to the provincial reconstruction team in Farah. They are accused of authorizing a $200,000 payment to Borcuta. The money came from a reconstruction program funded by the U.S. government. According to the indictment, Borcuta received the money but never delivered the vehicles.

All three defendants could face decades in prison if found guilty.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois helped in this investigation.