A 48-year-old former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee from Springfield pleaded guilty Tuesday to soliciting approximately $ 320,000 in bribes from Afghanistan contractors in return for his assistance in securing them U.S. government contracts.
Mark E. Miller, 48, was charged July 18 in federal court for the Central District of Illinois with one count of seeking and receiving bribes. He will be sentenced Nov. 30.
Miller worked for the Army Corps from 2005 to 2015, including in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2012.
While in Afghanistan, Miller was the site manager and a contracting officer representative for a number of construction projects, including an $ 8.1 million contract for the construction of a road from eastern Afghanistan to the Pakistan border.
According to a news release, Miller admitted to federal prosecutors that, in the course of overseeing the road project, he solicited $ 280,000 in bribes from the owners of an Afghanistan company, as well as an additional $ 40,000 in bribes after the contract was no longer active.
Federal prosecutors said Miller, who worked with a partner to conceal the payments, mailed home more than 50 envelopes containing $ 3,000 cash each in 2010.
He then asked his family to convert the money, which he said he earned from buying and selling guitars, to money orders.
His family was then directed by Miller to use the money to pay for personal expenses, including his student loan debts, a down payment on a pickup truck and the purchase of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
When Miller returned to Springfield on leave, federal prosecutors said he used the bribe money to buy new furniture for his home, install new windows, buy a television and purchase two Rolex watches.
— Contact Jason Nevel: 788-1521, jason.nevel @sj-r.com, twitter.com/JasonNevelSJR.