Defense Contractor Pleads Guilty to Bribery

     PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – An Oregon defense contractor pleaded guilty Monday to bribing an Army Corps of Engineers manager to award more than $170 million in contracts to his company.
     The defendant, whose legal name is the singular Sky, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy information. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
     He was accused of bribing Corps of Engineers program manager for the in Omaha with money, meals and vacations to secure contracts for his company Sky Research (SRI), based in Ashland, Ore.
     The manager is identified as “J.H.” in the information. Jerry Hodgson was investigated by federal authorities in 2012 for suspicion of bid rigging, though no charges had been filed by 2013, according to The Associated Press.
     Sky’s company worked with government contractors to clean up unexploded land mines, among other things. It was a contractor under the federal Military Munitions Response Program.
     Sky, 73, appeared in U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez’s court Monday morning with his attorney, and said little other than affirmative answers to Hernandez’s questions.
     He agreed to waive a grand jury indictment and enter a guilty plea.
     “You’re going to have to live with my sentence,” Hernandez said. “Are you OK with that?”
     “Yes,” Sky replied. “Well, I have to be.”
     Sky’s attorney Michael Levine said there would be no restitution in the case, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Nyhus told the court the government was still investigating the matter.
     Nyhus called Sky’s bribery a series of “wink and nod” agreements from 2002 to 2013, by which he secured nine contracts worth $171 million.
     Among other things, the government said, Sky was awarded a $9 million environmental remediation contract in 2009 just one day after paying Hodgson $3,000.
     Sky also paid for meals and accommodations for Hodgson in Costa Rica and Vietnam, and a fishing trip in Alaska.
     The sentencing advisory for Sky is 21 to 27 months in prison. Judge Hernandez told Sky he is “not bound by the guidelines” and that Sky could accumulate credit for good behavior if given prison time.
     Sky was not in custody when he arrived in court, and Hernandez released him. The court even discussed a planned trip out of the country, which Hernandez allowed.
     Sky’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 11.

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