Pentagon Contractors, Baltimore Man Charged With Conspiring to Rig Bids

By Dana Hedgpeth
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Two Pentagon contractors and a Baltimore businessman have been indicted in a scheme to rig bids for supplying aircraft fuel to the military.

Authorities charged Christopher Cartwright and Paul Wilkinson, U.S. citizens living in Prague, with conspiring to steal information to win contracts to supply fuel at up to 109 airports throughout Asia and Eastern Europe, Justice Department officials said. Another man, Matthew Bittenbender of Baltimore, was also charged.

Officials said that from February 2005 to July 2006, Bittenbender took confidential information from bids that his then-employer -- Avcard, a division of Kropp Holdings, of Hunt Valley, Md. -- made on deals to supply fuel to the government. He allegedly sold that information to Wilkinson and Cartwright, who owned competing companies.

Wilkinson and Cartwright used the information to win contracts, according to a three-count indictment unsealed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. In return, Bittenbender received more than $10,000 in cash, the indictment said.

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