|Blackwater Kept a Prostitute on the Payroll in Afghanistan; Fradulently Billed American Tax Payers
Blackwater, the private security company the U.S. government has outsourced work to in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been so rife with controversy that they had to change their name to shed their tarnished image. They are now known as Xe. Nevertheless, there are more outrageous allegations involving the company, with the latest being that they billed taxpayers for the services of a prostitute.
According to the Washington Post, former Blackwater employees assert that Blackwater officials kept a Fillipino prostitute on the company payroll for a State Department contract in Afghanistan, and billed the government for her time working for Blackwater male employees in Kabul. They claim that the prostitute's salary was put down on the payroll under expenses for "Moral Welfare Recreation".
Brad and Melan Davis, former Blackwater employees who are married, claimed in newly unsealed court documents that they had personal knowledge of the company falsifying invoices, double billing agencies and charging the government for personal and inappropriate items whose real purpose was hidden.
The Davis' say that they witnessed systemic fraud on the company's security contracts with the State Department in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as with the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
The couple worked in various Blackwater locations. Melan Davis worked in finance and payroll, while her husband Brad Davis served as a team leader and security guard. They filed allegations that Blackwater defrauded the government as part of a false claims lawsuit, which permits whistleblowers to win a portion of any public money the government is able to recover as a result of the information.
Melan Davis said that while she was working in their finance department, she questioned how they could bill the government for its workers' travel expenses to and from Iraq without documentation for those trips. She said that she personally witnessed and was involved in creating false invoices for plane travel at inflated rates so that Blackwater could overcharge the government for travel. She says that she was terminated in February 2008 for questioning their fradulent billing practices. Her husband resigned.
So its not only the alleged prositute on the payroll that is troubling, but also the allegations of system fraud in billing the government.
|Blackwater accused of defrauding US governmentPrivate security firm accused of charging US government for payments to prostitute
The troubled American private security company Blackwater faced fresh controversy today when two former employees accused it of defrauding the US government for years, including billing for a Filipina prostitute on its payroll in Afghanistan.
According to Melan Davis, a former employee, Blackwater listed the woman for payment under the "morale welfare recreation" category.
The company, which allegedly employed her in Kabul, billed the government for her plane tickets and monthly salary, Davis said.
Blackwater, renamed Xe last year apparently because of the bad publicity attached to its original name, is among the biggest private security firms employed by the state department and Pentagon in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The most notorious incident involving Blackwater was the shooting of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad in 2007. Charges against Blackwater employees in the US over the incident were dropped last year, prompting the Iraqi government to order hundreds of its security staff out of the country within the next few days.
The latest accusations are contained in court records that have been recently unsealed and reveal details of a lawsuit by Davis and her husband, Brad, who both worked for Blackwater. According to Associated Press, the records say they had personal knowledge of the company falsifying invoices, double-billing federal agencies and charging the government for personal and inappropriate items whose real purpose was hidden.
They said they witnessed "systematic" fraud on the company's security contracts with the state department in Iraq and Afghanistan, and with the department of homeland security and federal emergency management agency in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
There was no immediate response today from the company headquarters in North Carolina.
Melan Davis, who was fired from the company, is challenging the legality of her dismissal, claiming it was because she questioned the billing. Her husband voluntarily resigned from the company.
According to the lawsuit, Melan Davis raised concerns about the company's bookkeeping with her bosses in March 2006. The lawsuit claims she was told to "back off," and that she "would never win a medal for saving the government money".
The Davis couple launched the lawsuit in December 2008, one of a number against Blackwater.Brad Davis, a former Marine, served as a team leader and security guard, including in Iraq. He resigned from the company.
The Washington Post said the couple had made their allegations that Blackwater defrauded the government as part of a false claims lawsuit, which allows whistleblowers to win a portion of any public money that the government recovers as a result of the information.
The justice department has chosen not to join them in pursuing their civil suit, a decision that led to the court papers being unsealed this week.
The Post said that Melan Davis travelled to Amman, Jordan, where she and two co-workers spent hours generating reams of false invoices for plane travel at inflated rates.