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NY broker in Cunningham scandal pleads guilty

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2008/02/05 17:13

A New York mortgage broker who was involved in the Randy “Duke” Cunningham bribery scandal pleaded guilty to two charges Monday in federal court. John Michael pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an unlawful monetary transaction and to making a false statement to a federal grand jury. He is free on bond while awaiting sentencing May 5 before Judge Larry Burns. He faces a maximum of 10 years on each of the charges.

Michael pleaded guilty to using his Long Island, N.Y., mortgage company, Coastal Capital, to hide a half million dollars in bribes to Cunningham paid by Brent Wilkes, a Poway businessman. He also admitted to lying to the grand jury about how the financial transaction was structured.

Michael, 36, is the last person in the case to have his case resolved.

Wilkes was convicted Nov. 5 on 13 counts of bribery, conspiracy and wire fraud. Prosecutors said he paid Cunningham at least $625,000 in bribes, including meals, trips and gifts.

Cunningham, who in return steered millions in federal contracts to Wilkes' company, ADCS Inc. of Poway, is serving an eight-year prison term after pleading guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion.

Michael's uncle, New York financier Thomas Kontogiannis, pleaded guilty a year ago, and is awaiting sentencing.


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