A former government contractor was sentenced to 70 months in prison Friday for a corruption scheme in which he paid bribes to secure Army contracts in Hawaii while also receiving kickbacks, the Justice Department said.
In court, Winslett admitted that from 2011 to 2018 he paid $100,000 worth of bribes to two Army contracting officials at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu. In return, the officials steered at least $19 million in federal contracts to Winslett’s employer, construction management firm REK Associates in Virginia.
The bribes included a 2017 Jeep Rubicon, an antique 1969 Ford Galaxie, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, diamond earrings worth more than $2,000 and a variety of guns, the Army Times reported.
A press release from the U.S. Attorney General’s Hawaii District office noted that FBI agents, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division and Defense Criminal Investigative Service investigated the case.
Winslett also admitted that he accepted $723,333.33 in kickbacks from a local subcontractor to work on the projects. Military spending has been described as one of the legs of the Hawaii economy’s “three legged stool,” with billions of dollars worth of lucrative contracts at bases across Oahu.
During the 2018 fiscal year, Pentagon spending pumped $7.2 billion into Hawaii’s economy through contracting, making up about 7.7% of the state’s GDP. That put Hawaii as second in the United States for the highest defense spending as a share of state GDP, according to the Pentagon Office of Economic Adjustment.
As the pandemic has cut into tourism, Pentagon spending has played an increasingly prominent role in the state’s troubled economy.
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