A retired Army colonel pleaded guilty in federal court last week to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government through a scheme that involved cash bribes to rig more than $20 million in Pentagon contracts in his favor.

Retired Col. Joseph D. Young, 64, is the latest of four men caught paying bribes in order to illegally obtain information technology contracts at Fort Gordon, Georgia, according to federal court filings.

The other three men pleaded guilty this summer.

Between 2008 and 2014, Young and a colleague paid the spouse of Army Col. Anthony R. Williams, 59, more than $1.2 million for a “no-show” job at their company. In return, Williams used his active-duty officer status to help award contracts to their IT and cybersecurity firms.

Young founded an IT company after he retired from the Army in 2005 called J.Y. & Asssociates. That firm acted as a subcontractor to CREC Group, which was owned by Calvin D. Lawyer, 60, who also retired from the Army as a colonel in 2008.

Williams worked at the Pentagon during this time under the Army’s deputy chief of staff for human resources, providing “oversight and management of a billion dollar battle command budget,” according to court filings.

A fourth man involved in the conspiracy, active-duty Army Col. Anthony T. Roper, 57, helped oversee Fort Gordon’s network modernization strategy.

Together, the four men conspired to steer contracts to CREC Group and its subcontractor. The two active-duty officers provided “internal, confidential and proprietary information during meetings, telephone calls and in electronic communications," the court filings read.

Investigators also found that CREC Group received a coveted “small business administration status” as a small, disadvantaged company based on false representations from Lawyer.

As part of Young’s plea deal, he will have to pay more than $1.1 million in restitution. He also faces a five-year prison sentence with three years supervised release, as well as a $250,000 fine, the plea agreement reads.

His co-conspirators have already pleaded guilty and are currently serving five-year prison sentences, according to a Justice Department statement this summer.

The cases were jointly investigated by agents from Army Criminal Investigation Command and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, among other departments.

In August, Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine called the conspiracy a “disheartening scheme to steal taxpayer funds intended for our nation’s military.”

“These men disgraced their oaths to serve their country, and accordingly are being held accountable for their despicable thefts," Christine said.

“This defendant used the trust placed in him by the government to line his pockets," a statement reads from Frank Robey, director of the Army CID’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit. "This sentence is well-deserved.”

Kyle Rempfer was an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.

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