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Defense contractor pleads guilty to bribe

The owner of a Bohemia defense contracting company has pleaded guilty to bribing a U.S. Defense Department official.

Thanomsak Hongthong, 57, of VDH Precision Machining, admitted giving a $10,000 cash bribe to the Fort Monmouth, N.J., official in an attempt to inflate a VDH defense contract from $1.7 million to $2.5 million.

The $10,000 was a down payment on a promised $100,000 bribe, prosecutors said.

Hongthong, of Shoreham, said Friday through an assistant that he would not comment on the case. He entered his plea Thursday.

He was arrested after a Defense Criminal Investigative Division sting had him hand over $10,000 in cash at a Garden State Parkway rest stop. The cash handover was recorded by investigators.

Sentencing was set for Feb. 3 by Judge Anne E. Thompson, of the U.S. District Court in Trenton. The top sentence for the charge is 15 years in prison and a fine of three times the value of the bribe, or $300,000.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said Hongthong contacted the Defense official shortly after VDH got the contract on Nov. 18, 2009, and the two soon met.

"At the end of this meeting, Hongthong made a statement to the contracting officer which the contracting officer took as an offer of a bribe," Fishman said in a news release. At first Hongthong wanted the contract increased by $430,000, then later asked for an $800,000 increase.
 

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