A U.S. Army officer who approved supplies contracts in Iraq pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying about contents of a package he sent to the United States containing more than $100,000.
Maj. Charles E. Sublett told a judge Wednesday he sent almost $108,000 in sequentially numbered $100 bills and more than 17 million Iraqi dinar, then worth about $11,600, from Balad, Iraq, to his wife in Killeen, Texas.
Sublett also acknowledged he failed to file a Currency or Money Instruments Transaction Report disclosing the money was in the package, which U.S. customs law requires when sending more than $10,000 into or out of the country.
Instead, he listed the contents on the Federal Express package invoice as books, papers, a jewelry box and clothes valued at $140.
Customs officials in Memphis intercepted the package in January 2005. Sublett, 46, was indicted this past January.
In return for his guilty plea, the government agreed to dismiss a bulk cash smuggling charge. Outside court, neither Sublett nor his attorney Michael Stengel would discuss the money's origins, but there was no charge that it was stolen.
"I should have done a lot more research," Sublett said in court. "Everything about it was wrong."
Sublett, who has two master's degrees, faces up to five years in prison when sentenced in October. Federal guidelines call for a sentence between 18 months and two years, but U.S. District Judge Samuel H. Mays Jr. can decide on a sentence outside of that range.
Sublett also faces a $250,000 fine and must forfeit the money.
Sublett, of Huntsville, Ala., reviewed and approved supplies contracts while serving at the Balad Regional Contracting Center in Iraq between August 2004 and February 2005. The center was located at Camp Anaconda, about 50 miles north of Baghdad.
According to the indictment, the disbursement office where he worked provided payment in sequentially numbered $100 bills.
Sublett said at the hearing he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after deployments to Iraq and Bosnia.