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Guilty plea in federal contract scam

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A former program manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has pleaded guilty to federal charges of bribery and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Michael A. Alexander, 55, entered the plea in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in a scheme allegedly involving more than $20 million in bribes and kickbacks in the awarding of a $780 million government contract.

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As part of his plea agreement, Alexander agreed to cooperate in the government's investigation of the alleged incidents, a Department of Justice release said Monday.

"Today's bribery and money laundering pleas relate to one of the largest procurement fraud scandals in our nation's history and demonstrate this office's steadfast commitment to holding accountable unscrupulous government officials, as well as the contractors who entice them with bribes and kickbacks," U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., said.

Alexander worked for the Army Corps of Engineers from 1979 until the time of his arrest in October 2011, with authority to obtain funding for Army Corps of Engineers projects, including money for projects and programs placed through federal government contracts.

Indictments allege Alexander and another defendant awaiting trial, Kerry F. Khan, agreed to work together to obtain government contracts for corrupt contractors who would reward them with bribes.

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A sentencing date has not been set; the bribery charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and the conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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