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Army officer receives prison for Afghanistan contract scheme

Published June 13, 2014 3:20 pm

Fraud • A sentencing memo calls former Utahn David Young the leader of the plot.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A former special forces officer was sentenced Friday to 3½ years in prison for providing confidential bid information that helped a company obtain $54 million in contracts in Afghanistan, and then taking $9.4 million in return.

U.S. District Judge Tena Campell imposed the sentence on David Young, of Hernando County, Fla., as part of a plea bargain he reached with prosecutors.

Young, 51, pleaded guilty in December to disclosing procurement information and money laundering.

Young, an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, was indicted in 2012 with two others associated with the American International Security Corp., which provided security and other services during the war in Afghanistan.

Young headed a program to transfer security duties to the Afghan military, and he admitted to forwarding information that allowed AISC to win a contract to manage supplies and equipment for Afghan forces and provide training for them to take over those duties.

A government sentencing memo calls Young the mastermind of the plot who brought together the other two to carry out the scheme.

Campbell at the beginning of the Friday hearing said she would base her decision in part over what would be best for Young's 8-year-old son, Brendan, who he has full custody of and who suffers from severe emotional problems.

But attorneys argued over whether Young should get the lower or higher end of the three- to four-year sentence range recommended in the plea deal.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Lund, himself a former special forces soldier, made an impassioned argument for a 4-year sentence because Young had violated the law and the oath that special forces take.

"Mr. Young significantly breaches those values by what he did," Lund said.

Young's attorney, Brett Tolman, said the lower sentence was justified because of Young's care for his son.

"Every moment counts for Brendan," Tolman said.

The scheme was uncovered when investigators began looking into numerous suspicious withdrawals of $9,000 from accounts at America First Credit Union in St. George, withdrawals that were always below the $10,000 level that triggers reports to investigative agencies.

Christopher Harris, 49,who once lived in St. George but also worked as manager for AISC in Afghanistan, pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to commit procurement fraud. Harris, a friend of Young's from when they served together in Iraq, faces a four-year prison sentence. His sentencing is scheduled for June 23.

A third man, Michael Taylor, 53, Boston, the owner of AISC, also pleaded guilty to violating federal procurement laws and to wire fraud in a related case. No sentencing date has been set.

tharvey@sltrib.com

Twitter: @TomHarveySltrib