WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former program manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pleaded guilty on Monday to charges he participated in an elaborate bribery scheme designed to line his pockets and steer a $780 million government contract to a favored bidder.
Michael Alexander, who joined the Corps in 1979, was accused of receiving more than $1 million, including almost $300,000 in cash and checks, a $21,000 Cartier watch and first class airline tickets.
He pleaded guilty to one count of bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces up to 15 years for the bribery count and up to 20 years for the conspiracy to commit money laundering charge.
A second individual who worked at one company, Robert McKinney of Alpha Technology Group, also pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington on Monday to one count of bribery.
Beginning in 2006, prosecutors said Alexander and another Army Corps employee, Kerry Khan, agreed to direct government contracts to companies that paid them bribes. McKinney's firm won almost $2 million in business and paid some of that money to them, they have said.
McKinney admitted that more than $850,000 in expenses were false and kept almost $250,000 himself, the prosecutors said.
Alexander admitted receiving $1.15 million directly and indirectly, including some paid to an associate in South Korea from another company, Nova Datacom, which was awarded some $45 million in Army Corps contracts, they said.
He and Khan were also accused of trying to design another $780 million contract to favor Nova Datacom.
The former chief technology officer for Nova Datacom, Alex Cho, pleaded guilty to a series of charges related to the scheme in September 2011. The company was not charged and the Army Corps contract has not yet been put out for bid.
Charges are still pending against Khan, his son Lee and a man who ran another company that also had an Army Corps contract. Khan and the others pleaded not guilty in October.
(Reporting By Jeremy Pelofsky; editing by Andre Grenon)