A U.S senator says hundreds of defense companies that defrauded the U.S. military between 2007 and 2009 still received $285 billion in contracts from the Pentagon during the same period.

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday called the figures "shocking" and urged the Defense Department to take more aggressive steps to ensure taxpayer dollars aren't wasted at a time when the U.S. is running a $14 trillion dollar national debt.

Citing a January report prepared by Pentagon acquisition officials at Sanders request, the senator said the bulk of the contracts — just over $280 billion — went to 211 companies that had civil judgments against them or settled fraud charges of more than $1 million.