Ex-soldier accused in Iraq scheme


POSTED: Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A former Schofield Barracks senior enlisted soldier is facing federal charges that he took thousands of dollars in kickbacks from a civilian contractor when he handled Army purchasing and supply functions in Iraq.

A federal grand jury returned a secret indictment last month charging Ronald Joseph Radcliffe with mail and wire fraud, bribery and money laundering. A federal magistrate judge in Honolulu unsealed the indictment after the FBI arrested Radcliffe in Georgia.

He returned to Hawaii this month and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Radcliffe was a master sergeant assigned to Schofield's 2nd Brigade as the noncommissioned officer of supply in Kirkuk from January 2004 to February 2005.

According to the indictment, Radcliffe accepted money from Metin Subasi, a Turkish national, in exchange for steering Army contracts to several of Subasi's companies. He then mailed the cash to his girlfriend in Hawaii and instructed her to deposit the money in the bank in small increments so as not to draw attention from the Internal Revenue Service.

Radcliffe mailed the cash in boxes containing DVDs and CDs, according to the indictment. In September 2004 he also transported some of the money himself when he traveled to Hawaii and deposited it in a joint checking account with his girlfriend, identified by the initials V.M. Radcliffe's girlfriend is not charged with any crimes.

Radcliffe now works for defense contractor KBR in Afghanistan, in a job similar to the one he had in the Army when he was in Iraq, said Marshall Silverberg, assistant U.S. attorney.

After Radcliffe's plea, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang granted his request to get his passport back from the FBI so he can return to his job in Afghanistan. To assure his return for trial, Chang required Radcliffe to waive opposition to extradition and ordered him to put up his home in Tennessee as a security bond.

Silverberg is appealing Chang's order because he said if Radcliffe chooses not to return, “;It is nearly impossible to bring someone back from Afghanistan for civilian extradition.”;

He said the FBI is taking steps to revoke Radcliffe's security clearance, which would prevent him from performing his job in Afghanistan.

Radcliffe said he can still do his job without a security clearance.

The government has until Friday to appeal Chang's order to a U.S. district judge.