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Postal worker admits to accepting bribes

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

A Spotsylvania County man working as a U.S. Postal Service official pleaded guilty last week to accepting at least $40,000 in bribes in exchange for helping a Maryland-based company win more than $6 million in contracts.

Gene Quarles, 47, of Spotsylvania pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Alexandria to bribery of a public official and faces up to 15 years in prison.

According to a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Quarles worked for the U.S. Postal Service as a purchasing specialist, where he oversaw, evaluated and managed postal service contracts related to business mail entry and payment technologies.

In April 2010, officials with AH Computer Consulting Inc., an international information technology consulting firm based in Rockville, Md., approached Quarles and offered to pay him bribes in exchange for various impermissible contracting preferences and advantages, court papers state.

Quarles accepted the offer, and, from April 2012 to June 2012, received numerous cash payments for providing advantages to the technology firm during the contracting process, court records show.

For example, Quarles provided company employees with confidential Postal Service contracting information, including other vendors’ proposals and labor rates, so that AH Computer Consulting could tailor its bids to what other potential contractors were bidding.

Quarles also forwarded various private call-in numbers for conference calls between U.S. Postal Service officials, in which official business was discussed, so that company employees could anonymously listen in and get a leg up on their competition. Quarles also allowed the firm’s employees to complete surveys, evaluations and other review materials in Quarles’ own name so that they could obtain additional government contracts.

Quarles admitted that he used the bribe payments to pay for bills, rent and other living expenses. A sentencing is scheduled for May 17.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Chad Golder from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia’s Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419