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Area Man Charged In Iraq Contract Kickback Scheme

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Federal agents have their eyes on a local man who they say awarded contracts to companies in Iraq in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks.

The man, Robert Stein Jr., is behind bars and facing serious charges.

While troops fight the war in Iraq, the government has been hiring companies to rebuild the war-torn country. Jobs are supposed to go to the lowest bidder.

But, federal agents say, Stein, who lives in Hope Mills, awarded contracts based on bribes and gratuities.

They say he played favorites and got as much as $600,000 in return.

Officers arrested Stein and brought him to the Cumberland County Jail. They charged him with conspiracy, money laundering, and wire fraud.

Investigators believe Stein used the money to improve his house and buy cars, property, and jewelry.

He lives with his girlfriend. She's not talking. A note on the door reads "No Press Please."

Stein's estranged wife still lives in Fayetteville. She said investigators told her not to talk about the case, either.

Still, she said she didn't do anything wrong and told us, "I didn't know anything about this until police came and took my car and bank account."

In the meantime, Stein is being held without bond. If convicted, he could get up to 30 years behind bars.

Federal agents also arrested Philip Bloom in New Jersey. They say he was the middle man between Stein and the companies which landed the contracts.

Stein is due in federal court in Washington, D.C., next week.

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