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Maintenance foreman at Davis-Monthan pleads guilty in kickback scheme

JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES

By CURT PRENDERGAST | The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson | Published: March 9, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — A maintenance foreman at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base pleaded guilty Friday to a felony bribery charge in a kickback scheme at the base.

Benjamin Andrade, 68, faces up to one year in federal prison after pleading guilty to accepting $800 in December 2014 in exchange for awarding a contract to a Tucson refrigeration company.

Andrade was indicted in September on five counts of wire fraud and five counts of bribery in connection with an alleged scheme that ran from January 2013 to December 2014, according to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson.

While working as a maintenance foreman for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which maintains facilities on military bases that provide food, merchandise and entertainment, Andrade had the authority to pay contractors with an AAFES credit card without obtaining prior approval if the contract was for less than $2,000, according to the indictment.

He was accused of demanding kickbacks in exchange for awarding contracts. The owner of the Tucson refrigeration company paid Andrade checks ranging from $280 to $800 on nine occasions, for a total of $4,280.

All but one of the checks were made out to Andrade's wife, according to the indictment.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 24.

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