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LI defense contractor faces prison in bribery case

Scales of Justice

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The owner of a Bohemia defense contracting company was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison for offering a bribe to a U.S. Department of Defense official.

Thanomsak Hongthong, 57, of VDH Precision Machining Corp. admitted giving $10,000 cash to the official in Fort Monmouth, N.J., 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 had pleaded guilty to the charge in October before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in Trenton.

In addition to the prison sentence, Thompson sentenced Hongthong to three years supervised release, fined him $5,000 and ordered him to forfeit $10,000, prosecutors said.

The top sentence for the charge was 15 years in prison and a fine of three times the value of the bribe, or $300,000.

Hongthong’s lawyer, Joshua Markowitz, of Lawrenceville, N.J., could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

Hongthong was arrested after a defense department Criminal Investigative Division sting in which he handed over $10,000 in cash at a Garden State Parkway rest stop. The cash hand over was recorded by investigators. 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 met soon after.

Fishman said Hongthong at first wanted the contract increased by $430,000, then later asked for an $800,000 hike.

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