Pentagon’s $1m bill for two metal washers

Washington, August 18:

Plumbers may have been blamed before for excessive bills. But none has come close to matching an extravagant claim by a South Carolina firm:

almost $1 million for two metal washers worth 19 cents each.

Charlene Corley (47) co-owner of the plumbing and electrical firm C&D Distributors, who supplied parts to the US military, is awaiting sentence after pleading guilty on Thursday to defrauding the Pentagon.

She faces 20 years in jail.

The most expensive washers in history were part of $20.5 million C&D Distributors stole from

the Pentagon over the past 10 years.

The company shipped plumbing and electrical parts to the United States bases around the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan. Using an automated system intended to cut red tape, the company repeatedly added hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of shipping parts.

C&D Distributors claimed $998,798 for sending the two washers, which could have been posted through normal mail for a few dollars.

Corley used the money for luxury homes, cars, plastic surgery and jewellery.

She admitted her role in the fraud but lawyers placed most of the blame on her sister and co-owner, Darlene, who committed suicide in October after being approached by


Other bills included $445,640 for shipping one elbow pipe worth $8.75, $492,096 for a machine thread plug, and $403,436 for six screws worth$59.94.