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Caltrans Exec Charged|With 21 Bribery Counts

SACRAMENTO (CN) - A Caltrans contract coordinator was arrested Wednesday and charged with taking more than $100,000 in bribes for state contracts.

Alex Morales III, 54, was charged 21 felonies: taking the money and a new Ford Expedition for steering construction projects to a contractor or contractors.

Morales arranged and managed Caltrans public works projects that brought sidewalks and bridges into compliance with the American Disabilities Act.

His salary was $74,912 in 2014.

According to the criminal complaint , the bribes began in 2011 and continued up to at least November 2014. Morales allegedly took the bribes once or twice a month from July 2013 onward, missing only one out of 17 months. All 21 counts are Asking For/Receiving a Bribe, with a Special Allegation of White Collar Crime Enhancement.

Attorney General Kamala Harris said Morales was arrested after a nine-month investigation.

The Special Allegation says there are 45 counts, all related felonies, but only 21 counts are listed in the criminal complaint in Placer County Court. The Special Allegation says the related felonies "involved the taking of more than one hundred thousand dollars."

Morales was arrested Wednesday in Placer County. Bail was set at $50,000. His first court appearance was set for Jan. 25, 2016.

The attorney general's office said agents served four search warrants, some at state office buildings. No state agencies are implicated in the complaint, and the agency or agencies cooperated with the investigation, Harris' office said.

The 11-page complaint does not name the contractors who allegedly bribed Morales, nor did the attorney general's office say whether it was investigating the contractor or contractors.

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