Special agents support the International Contract Corruption Task Force

  • Published
  • By James C. Dillard
  • AFOSI Public Affairs
Air Force Office of Special Investigations agents are involved in many joint-military and law enforcement endeavors, a practice that is becoming more necessary as operational tempos increase around the world.

One such joint endeavor is the International Contract Corruption Task Force, a group comprising representatives from six federal agencies, including AFOSI, the Army's Criminal Investigation Division, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the United States Agency for International Development, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, Special Inspector General For Iraq Reconstruction, the Department of State and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

ICCTF was formed in 2006 and OSI came on board in 2009. The mission of ICCTF is to integrate the full spectrum of investigative, intelligence, audit and prosecutorial resources to combat contract fraud and public corruption related to U.S. government spending, with an emphasis on Southwest Asia operations.

"If you like working fraud, this is definitely a deployment to consider," said Special Agent Megan Rauch, one of the OSI agents assigned to ICCTF. "The ICCTF agent's mission is no secret in the deployed environment.  We work alongside our government counterparts to proactively stop fraud, waste and abuse."

Rauch currently is deployed to SWA, where she has seen first-hand the importance of having a joint-agency environment, as with ICCTF.

"The interagency aspect works well for ICCTF," she said. "Each ICCTF agency is an integral force multiplier and brings different resources to the table, making the investigations exciting. ICCTF is a vital mission that will continue to fight and deter fraud as the U.S. government continually conducts acquisition actions."

The ICCTF Joint Operations Center, located in Washington, D.C., consists of representatives from each of the nine federal agencies, including an OSI ICCTF JOC representative who supports the ICCTF agents in their areas of responsibility. There is also a dedicated Department of Justice assistant U.S. attorney from Washington who is assigned to ICCTF. There are 16 ICCTF offices located throughout Southwest Asia. Each office comprises a mixture of the agencies. ICCTF has approximately 90 agents.

Special Agent Susan Lantrip is the OSI team chief for ICCTF at her location. She oversees all OSI ICCTF fraud investigations impacting Air Force assets and resources in 10 countries.

"ICCTF has been very successful in combating fraud in the AOR," she said. "Since 2006, ICCTF has recovered approximately $61 million. It is a task force that is vital to ensuring tax payer dollars are utilized appropriately in the AOR."

From 2006 through January 2011, ICCTF agents have charged approximately 143 individuals with fraud and have recovered more than $161 million. ICCTF agents have investigative and prosecutorial jurisdiction over U.S. persons and U.S. companies. In regard to foreign persons and companies, ICCTF agents can assist in obtaining administrative remedies and work with local foreign counterparts on fraud cases.

"I think working on the ICCTF team is an amazing opportunity for OSI agents," Lantrip said. "This is the front line of defense for combating fraud in the AOR, where exemplary investigations make a real impact. ICCTF is an ever-expanding task force that is essential in protecting our tax dollars and protecting the war fighter from sub-par equipment and services."

Special Agent Cornelius King served as the ICCTF team chief for six months. He worked as the director of fraud investigations in Southwest Asia and supervised investigations in several countries. His primary mission was bribery and contract corruption cases.

"The ICCTF is doing some important work and making a significant contribution to protecting DoD assets in the AOR," King said. "The government is spending billions of dollars in SWA, and a lot of people are motivated to lie, cheat and steal for this money.

Rauch is finishing up a one-year tour with ICCTF in July, and for any other agent interested in the assignment, she would give them this simple advice: Go for it.

"This has been a very rewarding assignment for me, both personally and professionally," she said. "The ICCTF agent will take away investigative techniques and fulfilling experiences that will be useful for the rest of (his or her) career."