FBI looks into possible fraud at Arlington Cemetery

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 7:48 EDT
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WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is investigating a range of problems at the top US military cemetery, including possible criminal contracting fraud and false records, The Washington Post reported.

The Post said the Justice Department was investigating the mishandling of remains at Arlington National Cemetery as part of a sweeping criminal probe conducted by the FBI and the US Army’s Criminal Investigative Command for at least the past six months.

Investigators are seeking to learn who knew about the burial mishaps at the cemetery and whether any fraud or falsification of records was involved, it added.

The Post said a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia has been subpoenaing witnesses and records related to the scandal.

But the newspaper, quoting people familiar with the investigation, said no charges were imminent, and it was not clear whether any charges will ever be filed.

The US Army launched a criminal investigation after finding eight sets of cremated remains in the grave of an “unknown” soldier there.

The nation’s most prestigious military cemetery has suffered a series of embarrassing mishaps over the past year, and weathered several investigations by Congress.

The cemetery also spent millions trying to update its information technology, using outside contractors who often produced flawed contracts, according to an Army Inspector General report released last year.

A Senate report at the time found that US authorities had lost track or mishandled remains at between 4,900 and 6,600 of the more than 300,000 graves at the burial ground.

The cemetery, famous for its symmetrical rows of white headstones, is visited by four million people a year and is the resting place of president John F. Kennedy, a dozen Supreme Court justices, other famous Americans and casualties of all US wars.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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