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Marine pleads guilty to receiving $150,000 in bribes in Iraq

A Marine staff sergeant pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of taking $150,000 in bribes while he was a contracting officer for the Marine base at Camp Falloujah, Iraq.

Gilbert Mendez, 36, who served at the base in 2006, admitted in San Diego federal court that he took the bribes to award more than $2.6 million in contracts for three foreign-owned firms to provide goods and services at the base.

Neither the contractors nor the goods and services were named in information released by the U.S. attorney. At one point, Mendez discussed taking a Cadillac Escalade rather than cash, according to court documents. He is currently serving at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

A former Marine who assisted Mendez in the bribery scheme was sentenced earlier this year in Hawaii to four months behind bars. Francisco Mungia III admitted in federal court there that he helped Mendez launder the bribe money and received a 20% cut.

Mungia also agreed to repay the government $30,000.

 

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--Tony Perry in San Diego

 
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