FBI Stings SHOT Show


I know this has been out for a day, but I got to admit I had no idea when I was trolling the booths at SHOT that this was going down. In fact, with so many attendees and so many vendors, it's not surprising the rumors hadn't even spread through the press by the end of the day.  

According to FBI releases, the Justice Department arrested 22 execs from a variety of tactical and weapons products companies (both large and small) on Tuesday for allegedly agreeing to pay bribes to a fictional African government to outfit its presidential security detail. Twenty one of those execs were arrested Tuesday at SHOT in Vegas (guess they missed the Crye bash with Mini KISS)...  

The FBI won't say which companies the arrested execs work for, since the companies themselves are not alleged to have committed any crimes, a spokeswoman told Defense Tech/Military.com today. But she did point me to a list of the indictments where you can put two and two together and find out which companies are in the sting.  

One of the alleged bribers is Patrick Caldwell (with alleged co-conspirator Stephen Giordanella), who was only 10 days ago named named CEO of Sunrise, Fla.-based Protective Products, a big time competitor to Point Blank for body armor contracts. PPA was the original winner of the Marine Corps MTV contract.  

Caldwell's indictment alleges he:  

On or about May 14, 2009, at the Mandarin Oriental meeting in Miami, CALDWELL and GIORDANELLA agreed to proceed with the Country A deal, after being told that in order' to win the Country A business, Company A would need to add a 20% "commission" to the invoices it sent to VA-J in connection with the Phase One and Phase Two deals, half of which would be paid to Country A's Minister of Defense and half of which would be kicked back in the form of a commission split between Individual I and VA-I as a fee for their corrupt services. CALDWELL and GIORDANELLA further agreed to proceed with the Phase One deal knowing that the purpose of the Phase One deal was to show Country A's Minister of Defense that the Minister of Defense would personally receive a 10% "commission" on the deal.  
Whoa...And the rest of the alleged conspirators are accused of doing almost exactly the same thing.  

In another indictment, Israel "Wayne" Weisler, the CEO of US Cavalry, a huge supplier of uniforms, armor and other tactical gear is accused of doing basically the same thing Caldwell and Giordanella are accused of. In meeting at the Ritz in DC back in May, FBI agents posing as officials from African country "A" convinced Weisler and his colleague, Michael Sacks, to pay 20 percent kickbacks on an upwards of $15 million deal.  

The list is long, and through some Google-ing, I found what I think are a couple of associations (thanks to Laura Rozen over at Politico for doing some digging as well) but let's "energize the grid" and see if our astute readers can dig up some more (I'm adding the companies that I think are associated with the accused in BOLD)...

Some of them are small fry, trying to horn in on some of the lucrative arms and gear business. But some like Protective Products, US Cav and Smith and Wesson whould know better. 

  • Daniel Alvirez, 32, and Lee Allen Tolleson, 25, the president and director of acquisitions and logistics at a company in Bull Shoals, Ark., that manufactures and sells law enforcement and military equipment (ALS Technologies)
  • Helmie Ashiblie, 44, the vice president and founder of a company in Woodbridge, Va., that supplies tactical bags and other security-related articles for law enforcement agencies and governments worldwide; (i-SHOT, Inc.)
  • Andrew Bigelow, 40, the managing partner and director of government programs for a Sarasota, Fla., company that sells machine guns, grenade launchers and other small arms and accessories; (GunSearch.com)
  • R. Patrick Caldwell, 61, and Stephen Gerard Giordanella, 50, the current and former chief executive officers of a Sunrise, Fla., company that designs and manufactures concealable and tactical body armor; (Protective Products)
  • Yochanan R. Cohen, aka Yochi Cohen, 47, the chief executive officer of a San Francisco company that manufactures security equipment, including body armor and ballistic plates; (HighCom Security)
  • Haim Geri, 50, the president of a North Miami Beach, Fla., company that serves as a sales agent for companies in the law enforcement and military products industries; (HighTech USA)
  • Amaro Goncalves, 49, the vice president of sales for a Springfield, Mass., company that designs and manufactures firearms, firearm safety/security products, rifles, firearms systems and accessories; (Smith and Wesson)
  • John Gregory Godsey, aka Greg Godsey, 37, and Mark Frederick Morales, 37, the owner and agent of a Decatur, Ga., company that sells ammunition and other law enforcement and military equipment;
  • Saul Mishkin, 38, the owner and chief executive officer of an Aventura, Fla., company that sells law enforcement and military equipment;
  • John M. Mushriqui, 28, and Jeana Mushriqui, 30, the director of international development and general counsel/U.S. manager of an Upper Darby, Penn., company that manufactures and exports bulletproof vests and other law enforcement and military equipment; (Mushriqui Consulting L.L.C.)
  • David R. Painter, 56, and Lee M. Wares, 43, the chairman and director of a United Kingdom company that markets armored vehicles;
  • Pankesh Patel, 43, the managing director of a United Kingdom company that acts as sales agent for companies in the law enforcement and military products industries;
  • Ofer Paz, 50, the president and chief executive officer of an Israeli company that acts as sales agent for companies in the law enforcement and military products industries;
  • Jonathan M. Spiller, 58, the owner and president of a Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., company that markets and sells law enforcement and military equipment;
  • Israel Weisler, aka Wayne Weisler, 63, and Michael Sacks, 66, owners and co-chief executive officers of a Stearns, Ky., company that designs, manufactures and sells armor products, including body armor; (US Cavalry)
  • John Benson Wier III, 46, the president of a St. Petersburg, Fla., company that sells tactical and ballistic equipment. (SRT Supply)
[UPDATE: At the request of DT reader and commenter "Anon" I have posted a link to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which the FBI alleges these suspects violated with their 20 percent kickback]

-- Christian

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