Army Officer to Admit He Solicited Kickbacks

Times Staff Writer

An Army colonel accused of rigging service contracts with the aid of an Orange County businessman agreed Friday to plead guilty to soliciting more than $800,000 in bribes from two Korean businesses seeking contracts at his Army base.

Col. Richard J. Moran faces up to 70 months in prison and large fines. He is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Alicemarie Stotler next week and plead to two counts of conspiracy and one of bribery. Moran's wife, Gia Cha Moran, has also agreed to plead guilty to making a false statement.

Investigators with the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and Korean National Police said the wife helped solicit bribes and attempted to hide kickback cash.

"From the Army's perspective, this is the highest-ranking official ever indicted for this sort of corruption scheme," said Assistant U.S. Atty. Thomas McConville.

Moran, who remains a colonel at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Los Alamitos, was responsible for all service contracts at Yongsan Army Base in South Korea, where investigators say he engaged in the kickback scheme in 2001 and 2002.

Prosecutors say he pocketed $850,000 in cash from contractors hired to build barracks and provide security guards.

Authorities say a portion of one bribe was funneled through Joseph Kang Hur of Anaheim Hills, who was recruited by the colonel as a middleman. Hur has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery and is scheduled to be sentenced April 7.

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