(CN) - A former New Mexico prisons official was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison for taking $237,000 in bribes in exchange for awarding $4 million in prison roofing projects, the Department of Justice said.
Laurie Chapman, 51, of Santa Fe, pleaded guilty to a 30-count indictment in July 2011, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Chapman "corruptly solicited and accepted an aggregate of $237,080 in bribes from a roofing company," Santa Fe-based Omni Development Corp., from February 2007 through August 2009, prosecutors said.
Chapman used her position as facilities manager to select Omni to perform more than $4 million worth of maintenance and construction at state prisons. She incorporated Zia Construction in 2008 to receive the bribes, though the company did not do any work for Omni, prosecutors said.
During a recorded conversation in 2010, Omni's owner he expressed concern about the bribes being discovered, and Chapman suggested that the payments be called a "loan" and that she could say her state retirement was collateral for the loan, the Justice Department said.
Chapman later told federal investigators the same thing.
"In December 2010, Chapman provided a fraudulent, handwritten 'promissory note' for $80,000 (substantially less than the $237,080 that Omni had paid Chapman) dated February 3, 2008 and signed only by Chapman," according to the Justice Department's statement. "Chapman resigned from NMCD in May 2010 and worked for another state agency until she was fired in February 2011. Her state retirement was less than $50,000 and could not have served as collateral for a fraudulent $80,000 'loan.'"
Chapman will have to report to prison within 60 days, when the Bureau of Prisons selects one for her.
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