6 implicated in National Guard bribery scheme

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Six people were implicated Wednesday in contract-rigging schemes involving the bribery of National Guard officials, and three individuals have pleaded guilty, prosecutors said.

The Department of Justice unveiled the charges the individuals face in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Court documents show the schemes involved two businesses headed by retired National Guardsmen, one from Minnesota and another from Virginia. Prosecutors say both businesses bribed National Guard officials to award contracts to certain minority-owned businesses. They say the businesses that provided the bribes then did the actual work and got much of the money.

Prosecutors say National Guard officials got thousands of dollars in bribes through the schemes and that a total of $14.6 million in contracts was improperly awarded. Two of the businesses allegedly paying the bribes were named Wednesday.

One of the business owners involved in a scheme to bribe officials was Timothy Bebus of Forest Lake, Minnesota, court documents show. Prosecutors identified him as a retired sergeant major of the Minnesota Army National Guard. Documents unsealed Wednesday show Bebus has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery of a public official. His sister Julianne Hubbell, who worked with him, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery.

Bebus' lawyer declined to comment Wednesday. Hubbell's attorney, Thomas B. Walsh, called his client, who did administrative work, "collateral damage," because she was associated with her brother and had awareness of what was going on.

Prosecutors identified another business involved in a similar scheme as Financial Solutions of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and its CEO as retired National Guard Col. Charles Sines. He is now charged with conspiracy to bribe a public official and bribery of a public official. An online court record system did not list an attorney for him.

Prosecutors allege Sines paid a then active-duty National Guard colonel, Robert Porter, a percentage of all contracts Porter steered to Financial Solutions through minority-owned businesses. Prosecutors say Porter, a resident of Columbia, Maryland, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery of a public official. Porter's attorney did not immediately return a telephone call Wednesday afternoon.

The FBI's Washington field office investigated the cases. In an interview with The Associated Press this week, the office's new top agent, Andrew McCabe, said public corruption "will remain a huge priority for this field office."

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