Exec pleads guilty in big rigging

Aug. 8, 2007 at 6:31 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- A Virginia executive has agreed to plead guilty to rigging bids with the U.S. Department of Defense.

William Alan Potts, who is a vice president of a Virginia marine products company, will serve prison time and pay a criminal fine for his role in the conspiracy. Prosecutors alleged that between December 2000 and May 2003 Potts allocated customers and rigged bids for contracts to sell plastic marine pilings to the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and others.

Plastic marine pilings are often used in port and pier construction projects and are substitutes for traditional wood timber pilings.

Potts, who is a British citizen, is a vice president for a marine products company located in Clearbrook, Va. He agreed to plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Va., to the one-count felony charge. Under the plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, Potts has agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

"DOD contractors who engage in illegal bid-rigging and price-fixing schemes are wasting DOD resources and ultimately compromising the safety of DOD's most valuable assets," Geoffrey A. Cherrington, special agent in charge of the DOD's defense criminal investigative service in Arlington, Va., said in a statement. "DCIS will continue to aggressively pursue this kind of criminal activity."

Robert Taylor, Potts' former supervisor at the company, previously pleaded guilty charges that he participated in the plastic marine pilings conspiracy and other felony counts.

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