On June 24, 2008, John Cockerham, a U.S. Army office, and his wife, Melissa Cockerham, of San Antonio pled guilty to charges of conspiracies to commit bribery and money laundering. Mr. Cockerham pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of money laundering. Mrs. Cockerham pled guilty to one count of money laundering.
Mr. Cockerham admitted to his role in a complex bribery and money laundering scheme as an Army major in Kuwait. He awarded illegal contracts for services to be delivered to troops in Iraq in exchange for $9 million in bribes. Mr. Cockerham directed contractors to pay his wife, sister, and others to hide the fact that he was receiving bribes. Mrs. Cockerham admitted to accepting $1 million in bribes and storing them in various banks in Kuwait and Dubai on behalf of her husband. The trial of Mr. Cockerham’s sister, Carolyn Blake, will begin on October 27, 2008.
The couple agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation in the government’s efforts to repatriate the money from the overseas banks. The Kuwaiti and Emirati governments are assisting the government in this endeavor.
These cases are being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Ann C. Brickley and Richard B. Evans of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Trial Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher and Emily W. Allen of the Antitrust Division’s National Criminal Enforcement Section. These cases are being investigated by the Army Criminal Investigations Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security in support of the Department of Justice’s National Procurement Fraud Task Force and the International Contract Corruption Initiative.