Dallas Woman: I Took $3 Million in Iraq War Bribes

Sunnyvale woman admits role in huge kickback scheme

A North Texas woman has pleaded guilty to accepting more than $3 million in bribes in the biggest kickback scheme involving Iraq War contracts.

Carolyn Blake, of Sunnyvale, pleaded guilty last week in federal court in San Antonio to one count of money laundering. She faces up to 20 years in prison.

Blake’s brother, U.S. Army Maj. John Cockerham, pleaded guilty in January to accepting more than $9 million in the kickback scheme, federal prosecutors said.

Cockerham, an Army contracting officer in Kuwait in 2004 and 2005, was responsible for awarding U.S. military contracts in Iraq for services including bottled water and laundry services, according to court documents.

The contractors that paid the bribes have not been publicly identified.

To hide the payments, he had contractors funnel kickbacks to his sister and his wife, prosecutors said.

His wife, Melissa Cockerham, pleaded guilty in January to accepting more than $1 million in kickbacks.

Melissa Cockerham and Blake stored the money in safe deposit boxes in Kuwait and Dubai, prosecutors said.

Blake expected to keep 10 percent of the money and return the rest to her brother, according to court documents.

“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the integrity of contracts involving U.S. funds and supplies for men and woman in uniform,” acting Assistant Attorney General Rita Glavin said in a news release.

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