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Seven sentenced in bribery scheme at Navy base

Four former government workers and three defense contractors were sentenced in San Diego federal court Tuesday for their roles in a bribery scheme involving Navy warplanes being repaired at North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado.

Two former civilian employees of the Fleet Readiness Center were sentenced to 30 and 41 months in prison. Two others were given probation but will be required to spend weekends for the next 30 months in federal custody.

Three contractors from firms in Poway and Carlsbad each received sentences of 18 months.

The seven pleaded guilty to wire fraud, bribery and filing false tax returns as part of a scheme in which the contractors provided more than $1 million in cash, big-screen televisions, luxury massage chairs, home appliances, home remodeling and model airplanes to the government employees.

In exchange, the government employees approved fraudulent billing described by federal prosecutors as in the millions of dollars.

The seven "betrayed our country's best interests for their own financial gain," said Daphne Hearn, special agent in charge of the FBI's San Diego office.

The planes were the E-1 Hawkeye, an airborne early warning plane, and the C-2 Greyhound, which ferries personnel and goods from shore bases to aircraft carriers.

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--Tony Perry in San Diego

 
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