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Fugitive Oregon DOC Food Manager Getting Homesick in Iran

“I would love to come back to my country ... but unfortunately they want to fry me for my mistake,” wrote international fugitive and former Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) Food Service Administrator Farhad (“Fred”) Monem, in emails sent to The Oregonian newspaper in March 2011. “I know it wasn’t right what I did but I never heard [hurt] any one,” he explained.

As previously reported in PLN, in addition to his $77,000 annual salary, Monem, 52, pocketed at least $1.2 million in kickbacks from food distributors between 2000 and 2006 while serving ODOC prisoners “distressed” or expired food. [See: PLN, Sept. 2010, p.24; July 2009, p.20; August 2008, p.1].

Monem didn’t like the plea deal offered by federal prosecutors because it would have had him eating prison food for a long time. “They want to give me 6 to 8 years and that would mean I will die there,” he wrote. So in June 2007 he disappeared, leaving his American wife, Karen, holding the bag.

Four food venders who gave bribes to Monem pleaded guilty and served up to 3 months in prison. After Fred fled, Karen Monem pleaded guilty in 2009 to participating in the scheme and was sentenced to a year in federal prison. The date she was required to report to prison was repeatedly postponed to allow her to care for her ailing mother and teenage son, who suffered an onset of schizophrenia shortly after his father skipped town.

On March 3, 2011, a federal judge adopted the prosecution’s recommendation to excuse Karen from reporting to prison and instead allow her to serve probation and four months of home confinement.

“Karen Monem has complied with all the requirements that the court imposed since she accepted responsibly,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Cardani.

Federal officials have long believed that Monem returned to his father’s home in his birth country of Iran, which does not have an extradition treaty with America. They derisively claimed he was employed as a sheep herder (perhaps implying he was “on the lamb”). It seems they were right regarding his location, at least.

“Yes, I am in Iran. No, I don’t work with sheeps,” wrote Monem. “Yes ... life is very hard down here, it would have been easier if I went to jail.”

Despite pulling off the largest public corruption scandal in Oregon’s history, Monem still didn’t see any problem with his actions.

“I never take anything from taxpayer of state. I never did anything to hurt anybody,” Monem stated. “I got money from them because I new how much they are making from us. I always done my job right. I just take some of their profit.”

“They was happay to do that. State was happy with me job and it was win win situation,” he said. “Please tell me what would you do if you were in my place.”

Monem’s attempts to talk federal prosecutors into giving him a lighter sentence, more fitting of his “mistake,” fell on deaf ears.

“I always had the state best interst in mind. I would come back and face the court if they give me the same thing the[y] offer others,” Monem wrote. “But because they toke everything I work 28 years for, I don’t have here money to gat the lowyear. They want to send me to jail for 20 years. I try to talk to them but they don’t want to hear.”

“Mr. Monem is not in a position where he can negotiate terms with the government after he abandoned the state of Oregon, and abandoned his own family, knowing that he was being investigated for public corruption,” said Cardani.

“I would love to come back to my country. I grow up their. I never had any problem there. I love everyone there,” said Monem. Federal prosecutors think that’s a great idea, and have a prison cell ready and waiting for him. “We welcome Mr. Monem’s return,” Cardani stated.

Editor’s Note: The spelling and grammatical errors are quoted exactly as written by Fred Monem in his emails.

Source: The Oregonian

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