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Engineer to plead to $10 million Navy kickback scheme

PROVIDENCE, R.I., May 29 (UPI) -- A Rhode Island man says he agreed Wednesday to plead guilty in a scheme in which he and his girlfriend received $10 million in kickbacks from Navy contracts.

In court papers, Ralph M. Mariano admitted his guilt to charges of conspiracy, theft of government property and tax evasion, the Providence Journal reported.

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On Tuesday, Warwick lawyer Mary O'Rourke, who has been described as Mariano's girlfriend, agreed to plead guilty to theft of government property.

Her plea arrangement was contingent on Mariano pleading guilty, prosecutors said.

Mariano, an engineer at Newport's Naval Undersea Warfare Center, was accused of misusing $7 million to $20 million in government contract funds.

Mariano's father, Ralph Mariano, Jr., pleaded guilty earlier this month to four counts of tax evasion in connection with the scheme.

The younger Mariano faces up to 20 years in prison. Under O'Rourke's plea deal, prosecutors agreed to ask the judge to sentence her to probation.

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