Army official, military contractor sentenced for bribery, kickbacks

A former civilian U.S. Army official and a former military contractor were sentenced Monday to prison for a more-than-$66 million bribery and kickback scheme.

Richard E. Long, 63, of St. Augustine, Fla., and 56-year-old Mack S. Smith, of Bladenboro, N.C., were convicted in February  of bribery of a public official, wire fraud and money laundering, after a three-week trial.

U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper on Monday sentenced Smith to 12 years, six months in federal prison, plus three years of probation. Long was sentenced to 17 years, six months, and three years of probation.

Long was the long-time civilian Water and Petroleum Program Manager for  the U.S. Army Forces Command based from Fort McPherson, whose duties included reviewing water-related contract bids and recommending  private contractors.

Smith, owned WATEC, Inc., a Tennessee-based water-purification, training and servicing company.

According to U.S. District Court officials, Smith in 1998 agreed to make secret payments to  Long with the understanding that Long would recommend WATEC for every water-purification and training contract the Army entered into.

During trial, evidence showed that Long's recommendations throughout his tenure with the Army resulted in contracts valued at more than $66 million, including at least one contract worth more than $32 million.

From 2001 to 2007 Smith made payments to long totaling approximately $544,700, court officials said.

“There is no greater priority than ensuring the support and well-being of the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom," acting U.S. attorney Sally Quillian Yates said.

"The bribery scheme devised by these defendants undermined that objective by guaranteeing that the water supply for Army personnel in Iraq and elsewhere came not from the most capable supplier, but from the one most willing to bribe the key decision-maker."

The court also ordered Smith to pay a forfeiture money judgment of $549,700, and required Long to pay $317,000.