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US Army Officer Charged with Accepting Bribes for Contracts

Authorities in Los Angeles have charged a U.S. Army colonel with accepting bribes in awarding military contracts. Colonel Richard James Moran was in charge of U.S. Army contracts for South Korea.

The 11-count indictment charges Colonel Moran, his wife, Gina Cha Moran, and three other people with soliciting or accepting bribes, obstructing justice and money laundering.

Authorities say the five orchestrated a scheme to award contracts for barracks and family housing to the Aulson and Sky Construction Company, and a contract for civilian security guards to IBS Industries. Both companies are based in South Korea. In exchange, the suspects allegedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.

Investigators reportedly found $700,000 dollars in cash in the colonel's home at Yongsan Army Base in January this year.

U.S. Attorney John Hueston said Colonel Moran bypassed recommendations in the bid selection process based on a company's price and proficiency.

Mr. Hueston said, "Colonel Moran would intervene, the indictment alleges, either add another process by which his chosen company would win or otherwise pressure subordinates to rig the process so that the award would go to his chosen company."

Also charged is Joseph Hur, a California businessman accused of acting as a middleman. Indiana businessman Richard Carlisle and Ronald Parrish, an army subordinate of Colonel Moran's, are charged with improper handling of information on a competitor's bid for a computer services contract.

Colonel Moran was commander of the U.S. Army Contracting Command Korea, which approves more than $300 million in annual contracts.

He faces 115 years in prison if found guilty of all charges. His wife faces 100 years in prison. The others face penalties of 10 to 20 years.