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NATION : Consultant Lackner Pleads Guilty in Pentagon Corruption Inquiry

From Times wire services

Defense consultant Fred Lackner pleaded guilty today to conspiracy, bribery and fraud charges for funneling payoffs to a Navy contracting officer who used his influence to assist two companies seeking electronics business.

Lackner became the 12th individual to plead guilty in the still-expanding Pentagon corruption investigation with only the first phase of prosecutions nearing completion.

The Los Angeles-area consultant faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and fines of $750,000, penalties sharply reduced from those against him in a 25-count criminal indictment.

Lackner’s plea agreement is almost identical to one struck in the last week between prosecutors and two other figures in the inquiry, industry consultant William Parkin and senior Navy engineer Stuart Berlin, the recipient of the bribes.

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Lackner, who was a longtime friend of Berlin’s, worked as a subcontractor for Parkin and served as a middleman in the deals. All three were charged as a result of the sweeping “Operation Ill Wind” investigation of corruption in Pentagon contracting practices.


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