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Virginia defense contractor pleads guilty to bribery of SD Navy employee

USAF / Joshua Magbanua

A Virginia defense contractor pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit bribery for offering free meals, tickets to major sporting events and more to a San Diego-based Navy civilian employee.

Cambridge International Systems, Inc. admitted to acting through its former Executive Vice President Russell Thurston and another employee to offer various valuable items to James Soriano, a former contracting officer's representative at Naval Information Warfare Center.

Federal prosecutors allege that in exchange for bribes, Cambridge was awarded government contracts worth millions and made a profit of nearly $7.5 million.

Cambridge offered jobs for Soriano's family and friends, free meals, and a ticket to the 2018 MLB All-Star Game, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The company also hired Soriano's friend, Liberty Gutierrez, who gave Soriano $2,000 a month from her salary, prosecutors said. Gutierrez was also charged, pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

Soriano and Thurston have been indicted and their cases remain ongoing.  

"Service members depend on the honesty and integrity of our nation's defense contractors to be able to do their jobs,'' San Diego U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath said in a statement. "A business model based on fraud is both illegal and undermines the fairness of the system."

Soriano is also charged in a separate case with accepting bribes from Virginia-based defense contractor Intellipeak Solutions, which allegedly gave Soriano tickets to the 2018 World Series, 2019 Super Bowl and free dinners at various San Diego-area restaurants.

The U.S. Attorney's Office alleges that in return for those bribes, Soriano "steered millions of dollars in contracts to Intellipeak."

Prosecutors have also charged Intellipeak and its owner, Phillip Flores.

Article Topic Follows: California

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