Retired Army officer from Lacey steered funds to family business

adam.ashton@thenewstribune.comJuly 24, 2013 

A Lacey resident and retired Army lieutenant colonel pleaded guilty Tuesday to misusing his position as a contracting officer in Iraq six years ago to enrich himself, the Justice Department announced.

Harold Broek, 49, admitted steering military contracts to a company staffed by his own family. They made a profit of $29,871 on one deal for radios, the Justice Department said.

Broek is to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on Oct. 15 for the charge of criminal conflict of interest. He faces up to five years in prison. In exchange for his guilty plea, the Justice Department agreed not to prosecute his family.

Court records do not say what unit Broek was serving with when he deployed to Iraq in 2007 as chief of contracting for the Tikrit Regional Contracting Center. It does not say if he was an active-duty officer or a Reservist.

His plea agreement shows he exploited a partnership with an Iraqi contractor named Rohit Goel by guiding work to Goel’s Avalon International Limited. Goel in turn would steer significant portions of certain contracts to a business called Global Motion, which was run by Broek’s family.

The Justice Department said it obtained tax records that showed Global Motion made a profit of $52,400.16 in 2007 and 2008. His plea agreement calls on him to repay that amount.

Court records show one example of the cozy relationship between the two companies happened in July 2007, when Broek shortened a deadline for an Army radio contract worth $162,151 in such a way that heavily favored Goel.

Broek finished his deployment and returned to Lacey the next month. In September 2007, Goel fronted Global Motion $99,978 to supply the radios.

Global Motion spent $58,733 buying radios and kept the rest of the money.

Attorneys in the plea agreement stressed that Broek was the only person in his family who could have known the foreign contractor and been aware of the work it would receive.

“Only Lt. Col. Broek knew about government contracts in general, which government contracts were likely to be given to Avalon, and which government contracts had already been awarded to Avalon,” the agreement says.

Court records include an email Broek sent from his wife’s account when he returned home to Lacey in August 2007 that highlighted his agreement with Goel.

“We are set up with a formal (limited liability company) now and are ready to talk the details of business with you,” he wrote in an email he signed “Hal.”

The case was investigated by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Recovery, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

Adam Ashton: 253-597-8646 adam.ashton@thenewstribune.com

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