Saturday, August 18, 2007


Last year, the Pentagon paid $998,798 to a small parts-supply company in South Carolina to ship two 19-cent washers to an Army base in Texas.

Oh, it gets worse. Much worse. The company, run by twin sisters Charlene and Darlene Corley, managed to scam the eagle-eyed U.S. government out of $20.5 million in an oh-so-delightful business relationship stretching back nearly 10 years.

Among the other mind-reeling charges paid to the sisters, according to The Washington Post -- $445,640 to ship a single elbow pipe valued at $8.75; $492,096 for a machine thread plug worth $10.99; and $403,436 for six machine screws valued at $59.94.

Pentagon officials caught onto the scheme last fall, but -- alas -- they had already paid 112 bogus invoices. And the sisters, it appears, had already spent much of the money on what an assistant U.S. attorney described as "excessive personal enjoyment."

Among other things, the sisters excessively enjoyed the purchase of beach houses, luxury vacations, expensive jewelry, plastic surgery, 10 vehicles (including a BMW and a Mercedes) and a cookie store.

On Thursday, 47-year-old Charlene Corley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money. She was fined $750,000 and faces up to 20 years in prison on each count, according to Bloomberg News. Darlene Corley committed suicide last year, shortly after the feds began asking how much it really costs to ship a couple of 19-cent washers to Texas.

-----The twins got nose jobs, boob jobs, flashy cars and beach vacations, got confident, careless, and caught. And how eagled is the eye if this went on for 10 years?

I say ship the remaining twin to that Army base in Texas, from whence she will ship out with the next unit to Baghdad, where she will perform 12 months of community service searching for 2 washers worth $998,798, an elbow pipe worth $445,640, and six $403,436 machine screws.

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