Former sailor given two year prison term for accepting bribes in Afghanistan

  • Published
  • By Department of Justice
  • Office of Public Affairs
A former U.S. Navy noncommissioned officer was sentenced March 29, 2016,  to 24 months in prison for accepting approximately $25,000 in cash bribes from vendors while he served in Afghanistan.

Donald P. Bunch, 46, of Pace, Fla., was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida, who also ordered Bunch to pay a $5,000 fine and to forfeit $25,000.  Bunch pleaded guilty Sept. 18, 2015, to a one-count information charging him with accepting bribes.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher P. Canova of the Northern District of Florida, Assistant Director in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI's Washington Field Office, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko, Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command Major Procurement Fraud Unit, Special Agent in Charge Robert Craig of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service Mid-Atlantic Field Office and Brig. Gen. Keith M. Givens, Commander, Air Force Office of Special Investigations made the announcement.

The FBI, SIGAR, CID, DCIS and OSI investigated the case. 

According to the plea agreement, from February 2009 to August 2009, Bunch worked as a Navy senior chief at the Humanitarian Assistance Yard at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. The HA Yard purchased supplies from local Afghan vendors for use as part of the Commander's Emergency Response Program, which enabled U.S. military commanders to respond to urgent humanitarian relief requirements in Afghanistan, Bunch admitted.

Bunch was responsible for replenishing food and supplies at the HA Yard and for selecting vendors from a pre-determined list to provide the necessary items, according to his plea. In connection with his guilty plea, Bunch admitted his predecessor instructed him to rotate among the vendors. 

According to admissions made in connection with his plea agreement, certain Afghan vendors offered money for the purpose of influencing their contracts.  Bunch admitted he accepted a total of approximately $25,000 in bribes from the vendors and as a result, secured on their behalf more frequent and lucrative contracts. Bunch sent greeting cards stuffed with proceeds of the bribes to his wife and used the money to pay for the construction of a new home.

Trial Attorney Daniel P. Butler of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Goldberg of the Northern District of Florida prosecuted the case.