Navy Employees, Contractors Plead Guilty to Fraud

Byline: Associated Press/Julie Watson

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Defense contractors found a novel way of landing lucrative Navy contracts at a San Diego base, investigators reported, by plying civilian employees with a treasure chest of toys ranging from bicycles to big-screen TVs to pricey massage chairs.

Four Navy employees and three defense contractors pleaded guilty March 28 to participating in a wide-ranging corruption scheme in which the contractors won millions of dollars in military orders by bribing government workers with more than a $1 million in goods.

“Corruption of this nature strikes at the heart of our national security and erodes public confidence,” said Chris Hendrickson, the special agent in charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service Western Field Office.

The Navy employees worked for a program that ensured aircraft were combat ready at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, but it was unclear if the scheme jeopardized military operations.

The seven defendants could face up to 20 years each in prison. Sentencing is set for July 2.

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