Osama Esam Saleem Ayesh: US Emb Baghdad Local Employee Charged with Theft of Public Funds and Conflict of Interest

According to the affidavit filed by the OIG Special Agent on this case, Osama Esam Saleem Ayesh is a 36 year old Jordanian national employed by the US Department of State at the US Embassy in Baghdad. Apparently he works for the US Embassy in Baghdad but was hired by the Iraq Support Unit at the US Embassy in Amman, Jordan in 2006 (where he principally resides). At the time of his hiring, the Affidavit states, a Locally Employed Staff Personal Services Agreement between Ayesh and the State Department was created.

In January 2010, OIG agents at the US Embassy Baghdad received information from an Arabic-speaking Iraqi business person alleging that Ayesh embezzled  at least $100,000 from the US Embassy.

In total, $243,416 was allegedly funneled to the bank account of Eqbal Ezzat Yousef, Ayesh’s wife, between September 2008 and June 2010, according to the affidavit.

You can read the Affidavit in Support of a Criminal Complaint against Ayesh here which also requested the issuance of the arrest warrant.
 
But here is the interesting bit from the charging document:

“In June 2010, Ayeh was confirmed for enrollment in a DOS training course held in Arlington, Virginia from August 16-27, 2010. Ayesh is ticketed to arrive at Dulles International Airport on August 16, 2010, at approximately 12:21 pm.”

According to the DOJ press release, Ayesh was arrested on Aug. 16, 2010, based on a criminal complaint charging him with one count of conflict of interest.

So he must have gotten off the plane and into the waiting arms of law enforcement officers at Dulles.

Below is the press release from USDOJ: U.S. Embassy Employee in Iraq Charged with Theft of Public Funds and Conflict of Interest

A foreign national employed at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, was charged today with theft of public money and acts affecting a personal financial interest in connection with $237,236 in U.S. Government funds, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia and Acting Assistant Director in Charge John G. Perren of the FBI Washington Field Office.

An indictment returned today by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia charges Osama Esam Saleem Ayesh, 36, with two counts of theft of public money and one count of acts affecting a personal financial interest, commonly known as a conflict of interest charge. Ayesh was arrested on Aug. 16, 2010, based on a criminal complaint charging him with one count of conflict of interest.

According to the indictment, Ayesh held the position of shipping and customs supervisor at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Ayesh was responsible for preparing the necessary documents and logistical support for customs clearance and delivery of shipments coming into Iraq for the embassy and embassy officials and personnel. While Ayesh worked at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, his primary residence was in Amman, Jordan.

The indictment alleges that, between November 2008 and June 2010, Ayesh fraudulently caused $237,236 in U.S. Government funds, intended for the payment of services provided to the U.S. Embassy pursuant to two Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs), to be sent to a bank account in Jordan that he controlled. The indictment further alleges that, between September 2008 and June 2010, Ayesh participated in the creation and operation of BPAs executed by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, in which Ayesh knew that he and his wife had a financial interest.

The indictment alleges that Ayesh also knew that he and his wife had a financial interest in the instigation of U.S. electronic funds transfers to pay for services rendered under those BPAs.
The theft of public funds counts each carry a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The conflict of interest charge carries a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

 


 

 


 


 


 

 


 
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US Embassy Guyana Revises Photo Contest Rules After IPR Flak

We have previously posted here about US Embassy Guyana’s photo contest via Facebook/Flickr which generated some IPR controversy.  The embassy has now revised its photo contest rules: 

After reviewing opinions expressed by members of various on-line communities and in the press that included a lively discussion on intellectual property rights, the United States Embassy in Guyana has revised the photo contest rules to be as flexible as possible within legal norms for such contests. The U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce that it will use the Democracy Video Challenge rules for this and other similar contests. Our new rules are posted at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Georgetown-Guyana/US-Embassy-Guyana-Public-Affairs/140708899279090?v=app_2373072738&ref=sgm#!/topic.php?uid=140708899279090&topic=221

Below is the relevant portion revised:

Contestants retain ownership of their photos. However, by submitting a photo to the Contest, Contestants grant Contest Sponsors, participating organizations, and Platform Partner, with proper attribution through whatever means they deem appropriate, a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub-licensable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, and/or display the Photo Submission, in any media formats and through any media channels in perpetuity in connection with the activities and operations of the Contest.

Read the entire contest rules here.


The rules still cover a large swath.  Contestants retains ownership of their photos, but their submission even if not judged winners in this contest could still be used without any compensation from the looks of it.  Three adult awards and three children awards — six in total, costing possibly less than a thousand dollars altogether:

The adult awards will be: first place winner will receive an underwater digital camera, the second place winner will receive a Flipcam camera, and the third place winner will receive a photography book. Children awards will be: first place winner will receive a digital camera, second place will receive a iPod mini, and the third place winner will receive a photography book. Honorable Mention Winners in both categories will receive photography books.

But if you have some fifty contestants who submit the maximum allowed of 5 photos under the rules of the contest, that’s still 250 photographs in a bucket to select from for “worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub-licensable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, and/or display.” Not a bad ROI, but still does not look good.  

Frankly, we still cannot understand why the contest organizers won’t use for promotion just the six winning photos in this contest and leave the non-winning photos alone.  Wouldn’t that make more sense and less uhm, sorry, we’ll use the word again — tacky?    

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insider Quote: "no reason to hurry down the aisle towards yet another acronym: EFM"


From FS Blog, Pantsuits and Pearls:

Since Gene and I aren’t married, in the eyes of the government he’s my Member of Household [MOH] and I’m the Head of Household [HOH]. I’ll wait for the jokes to stop.

Still waiting.

Ok. Whether or not we’ll get married has to be one of the most frequently questions we get asked, right after “where are you going?” and “what will he do?” So here’s a quick explanation for those of you who haven’t heard our decision: we aren’t rushing to the alter. Neither of us wants to get married before we’re ready just because it’s convenient and we’d get more money, although the extra money sure would be nice…I’m unbelievable lucky to have a boyfriend who is so supportive of me taking this job that I want to make sure I’m equally supportive for him. It will take some time to figure out what he can do abroad and if this lifestyle really is for him. I’m pretty certain it is for me, but this is my dream, and I don’t see the need in putting any undue pressure on him or our relationship. Plus, there’s no reason to hurry down the aisle towards yet another acronym: EFM [Eligible Family Member]. Although it does beat the slightly pejorative “trailing husband.”

Laila in Every MOH has a HOH!
From FS Blog, Pantsuits and Pearls
Chronicling the adventures of a new Foreign Service Officer as she travels the world serving her country