If you thought our story on Joel Potter -- the man who received two years in prison for selling the US military bad helicopter parts -- was bad, then wait until you read this.
David Brooks is the founder and former chief executive of DHB Industries, the US Military's leading supplier of body armor. Sandra Hatfield is the company's former chief operating officer.
Together, the two swindled the US Military out of more than $190 million, according to the feds.
Brooks and Hatfield are accused of lying about the performance and stock value of their best selling product, the Interceptor bullet-proof vest, in order to sell it to the US Military at an inflated price. The Interceptor vest is used by most of the country's servicemen and women.
After ripping off the US Military, Brooks and Hatfield proceeded to open up a series of off-shore bank accounts, into which they deposited the exorbitant profits. Scotland Yards has said that it discovered Brooks hiding more than $3.6 million in a London safe deposit box.
With that cash, Brooks bought himself a stable of race horses, porno for his sons, a $100,000 gem-encrusted US flag belt buckle, plastic surgery for the wife, and prostitutes for his staff. He also paid to have Aerosmith and 50 Cent perform at his daughter's Bat Mitzvah, while Tom Petty and The Eagles played at other private parties for the family.
But the shopping spree came to an end when Brooks and his partner in crime were finally charged with defrauding the US Military. They both resigned from their posts and the company, shortly after changing its name, filed for bankruptcy.
Their six-month long federal trial just came to an end this week. If found guilty, Brooks faces up to 30 years in prison.
I caught this news item on Colbert's show last night. I did not see it anywhere else, not on any major news show or newspaper.
On a late-night comedy show.
I remember the stories about body armor, families buying their loved ones sets they believed would keep them alive, the tests and the back-and-forth claims from both companies.
In its investigative report, however, NBC interviewed Jim Magee, a retired Marine colonel who designed the current body armor in use by the military, known as Interceptor. Magee said he felt Dragon Skin was the best available -- "two steps ahead of anything I've ever seen." Other people interviewed for the show claimed that officers at lower levels tried to sabotage the use of Dragon Skin because it was not Army developed and would threaten their funding and programs.
NBC also reported that the CIA had approved Dragon Skin for its elite operatives and that select soldiers assigned to protect generals and VIPs in Iraq and Afghanistan wore Dragon Skin.
The Army has decided to launch "an aggressive campaign" to counter the claims of NBC and the company that makes Dragon Skin, Pinnacle Armor, so I doubt we've heard the last of this one. The discussion boards at Military.com are already filled with comments pro and con.
I do not know enough to comment about the effectiveness of Brook's Interceptor armor vs. Pinnacle's Dragon Skin nor do I know the military folks' term for suppliers whose products are maximized for profit and minimized for reliability.
I do know that in times of war there exist many opportunities for business and profit and jobs back home. But I just cannot help thinking how many of our people might have survived Iraq or Afghanistan if they had the armor a jewel-encrusted American Flag belt buckle could have paid for.