Marine food investigation underway - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Marine food investigation underway

February 14, 2006

Albany -- A Marine at the Albany Base is under investigation for selling military meals ready to eat on eBay. The Albany Marine surfaced in a Federal Government Investigation into corruption in Hurricane Relief.

On eBay today there are listings for hundreds of cases of M.R.E.'s-- or meals ready to eat-- for sale.

Government Accounting Office Managing Director of Investigations Gregory Kutz said "It says right on the box for the military meals ready to eat that it is unlawful for these to be sold, because they are paid for with tax payers dollars."

 In October, the United States Government Accountability Office, investigating Hurricane Katrina and Rita relief, also noticed M.R.E.'s intended for hurricane victims for sale on the Internet.  "They have a zero tolerance policy now for people committing fraud related to the disasters." Kutz said.

The G.A.O. investigated 12 eBay listings selling M.R.E.'s, and located eight sellers. Two were actual Hurricane Victims who were selling the meals they did not eat.

One seller is an Albany Marine, who told Investigators he found the M.R.E.'s in a dumpster at the Base. Investigators refuse to identify the Albany Marine, but say he had 61 cases of M.R.E.'s in his home and car, but found no evidence that he had sold any.

Kutz said, "This person in Albany Georgia was already under investigation by the Marine Corp Criminal Investigation Division."

Marine Base officials won't comment, saying their investigation continues. The G.A.O. report says Investigators do not think criminal charges will be brought against the Albany Marine, because the M.R.E.'s had been thrown away.

The G.A.O. Report found two of the internet sellers were National Guard members. One said he bought the Meals at a flea market. The other said he was given permission to sell the meals, but could not say by who.

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