Final charges in scam probe

WASHINGTON — Hailing Israeli cooperation in the matter, the U.S. Justice Department has settled the last charge stemming from a 1987 embezzlement scam orchestrated by an Israeli air force officer.

Rami Dotan schemed with defense contractors to set up a $10 million slush fund skimmed from U.S. military aid to Israel. Dotan is currently serving a 13-year jail sentence in Israel for the crime.

This week, the Pratt & Whitney Group of United Technologies Corp., the premier jet engine manufacturer, paid $14.8 million to settle charges that it falsely billed the United States for $10 million in work never performed. That money was then diverted to Dotan, according to the Justice Department.

More than $2 million also was diverted to other companies at Dotan's orders and paid out to other Israeli officers, according to the Justice Department.

"The Israeli police assisted with numerous witness interviews, while the Israeli Ministry of Defense cooperated with significant document requests by both sides, and produced scores of Israeli witnesses for interviews and depositions," said Frank Hunger, a U.S. assistant attorney general.

Other U.S. defense contractors, including General Electric, have pled guilty to felony charges stemming from the "Dotan affair."