Army Engineer Faces Long Stretch in Stir

     HOUSTON (CN) – A former member of the Army Corps of Engineers faces up to 15 years in federal prison after admitting he ordered a contractor to pave his driveway and foot the $80,000 bill to keep receiving government contracts.
     Christopher Castillo, 33, of Monte Alto, Texas, pleaded guilty to bribery, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
     “Castillo admitted that as part of his official duty, he supervised projects in the Southern District of Texas and the performance of government contractors,” prosecutors said.
     “One such contractor had been involved in numerous construction jobs for the U.S. government in 2010, 2011 and 2012, including an emergency power cooling building for the U.S. Border Patrol located in Hidalgo County.
     “As supervisor of that project, Castillo could terminate work if he believed it was unfavorable or he could unfavorably report to USACE thereby preventing the company from getting future contracts.
     “A USACID agent obtained information that Castillo solicited and received a new concrete driveway from the owner of that company in late 2010 while it was engaged in contract services for the U.S. government.
     “Specifically, Castillo asked that his driveway be paved and that the owner must pay for the work. The owner was afraid to refuse because Castillo could prevent him from getting government contracts.
     “The owner paid another person to install the driveway, paid the expenses and supplied much of the material. The project had an estimated value of $80,000 and was completed on or about Jan. 14, 2012.”
     Castillo also faces a $250,000 fine at his Nov. 28 sentencing.
     He is free on bond until then.

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