A former U.S. Army interpreter from Woodbridge has been charged with lying to federal agents investigating whether he accepted money to help an Iraqi contractor obtain contracts from the United States government.

Ramy Elmery, 43, was charged in federal court in Alexandria with making false statements, a charge that carries a penalty of up to five years if convicted.

Elmery, who was born in Egypt, was twice deployed by the Army to Iraq, where he worked as an Arabic language interpreter for contract negotiations between the Army and Iraqi contractors.

According to charging documents, in 2008, Elmery allegedly sent an email to the owner of a contracting company titled, "My Bank Account in Virginia U.S.A." In the missive, Elmery allegedly asked "when are you going to put the money in the BANK?"

He later sent another email to the contractor with the bank account number for his brother in Egypt, according to charging documents. In a subsequent email to his brother and the contractor, Elmery allegedy said, "You can put it as $500,000 in ten payments."

Elmery's brother told him that he received $9,832 in U.S. dollars from the contractor, and Elmery wrote the contractor with the subject line, "Keep the money coming my friend."

"Continue sending $9,900 every time you got to the bank!! So we can continue working together and make More More More Money ..."

Emails between the brothers indicated that they received at least five payments of about $10,000 from the contractor over several months, according to charging documents.

After Elmery got out of the military, he worked as an intelligence analyst for various federal contractors, where he submitted background investigation forms in which prosecutors said he failed to disclose his relationship with the contractor or the existence of the foreign bank accounts, documents said.

When special agents from the FBI and the Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service interviewed Elmery in 2011, he first denied accepting money from the contractor.

But when the special agents showed him the emails, authorities said Elmery admitted that he agreed to accept money from the contractor in exchange for Elmery helping him obtain U.S. government contracts.

Elmery indicated that he told the Iraqi contractor he had the power to influence the award of U.S. government contracts, documents said.