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Chattanooga landscaping business accused of being front for international money-laundering operation

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) - U.S. Attorney Bill Killian has indicted a Chattanooga man accused of operating a landscaping business that functioned as a front for a two-year international money-laundering operation that netted $90,000 in illegal funds.

Defendant James C. Pittman is accused of working with two unnamed co-conspirators to funnel bribe money from Afghanistan to the United States, according to the indictment.

The money, shipped to Chattanooga in large crates, came from an unnamed U.S. Army official who worked in Afghanistan, the indictment states. This U.S. Army official allegedly accepted bribes from contractors who thought the payments would help them win contracts with the Army, according to the indictment.

Rather than deposit the bribes directly in the bank, which presumably would have raised suspicions, the unnamed Army official instead partnered with Pittman -- an old Army buddy from Fort Campbell -- to launder the money. Pittman paid the corrupt Army official back for the boxes of cash by giving him a "salary" from the company bank account, thereby cleaning the money, Killian said.

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