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Ex-Navy employee pleads guilty to taking bribes from defense contractors

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Posted at 6:13 PM, Jun 11, 2024

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — A former San Diego-based Navy civilian employee pleaded guilty this week to accepting bribes from defense contractors to help them obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in government contracts.

James Soriano, 63, who worked at the Naval Information Warfare Center, accepted free meals, jobs for family members and friends, and tickets to major sporting events, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The gifts included tickets to the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, 2018 World Series, and 2019 Super Bowl. Prosecutors said that one family friend who received a job through the scheme gave Soriano $2,000 a month from her salary.

In addition to the bribery conspiracy, Soriano pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return for not disclosing the cash payments he received from his family friend.

Soriano's plea agreement states he and another former Navy employee took bribes from Philip Flores, the president and CEO of Virginia-based Intellipeak Solutions. Soriano also admitted to taking bribes from Russell Thurston, the vice president of Cambridge International Systems Inc., a defense contractor out of Arlington, Virginia, as well as another unnamed defense contractor who gave Soriano free meals, free rounds of golf at private country clubs, and a job for Soriano's wife.

Cambridge International Systems pleaded guilty to federal charges earlier this year. Criminal cases remain pending against Thurston, Flores, and Intellipeak Solutions.