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Former EPA Director Pleads Guilty to Corruption Charges

Sept. 26, 2006 The territory's former director of environmental protection pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to swindle $1.4 million in public funds, officials said.
Hollis Griffin, 43, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and illegally structuring currency transactions to avoid taxes, said Assistant U.S. Attorney James Carroll.
Griffin schemed with former firefighter Earl Brewley, 46, and Esmond Modeste, 58, to offer $350,000 in kickbacks to at least four government employees in exchange for consulting contracts worth $1.4 million, Carroll said.
Griffin, who now lives on the U.S. mainland, entered his plea to the V.I. charges in an Atlanta, Ga., courtroom He's scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 19.
Brewley and Modeste pleaded guilty to the same charges in July.
All three could each face up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and have to forfeit $1.4 million when sentenced Nov. 15.
The men were charged in June.
Carroll would neither confirm nor deny any ongoing investigation into the briberies, declining to name the other officials who allegedly accepted bribes.
From 2000 to 2005, the V.I. government paid Elite Technical Services — a company run by Modeste, Brewley and Griffin — more than $1.1 million for consulting work that was never completed, Jenkins said.
In a separate case, a jury found two men guilty of using political connections to illegally obtain a $3.6 million sewer repair contract. A former aide to Gov. Charles Turnbull pleaded guilty to conflict of interest in June, saying he helped the men get the no-bid contracts.
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