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SAN DIEGO (AP) - Federal prosecutors in San Diego say a U.S. Marine has pleaded guilty to accepting $150,000 in bribes from contractors while stationed in Iraq.

The U.S. attorney's office says 36-year-old Staff Sgt. Gilbert Mendez pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to defraud the United States.

Mendez worked as a contracting officer at Camp Fallujah, Iraq, in 2006 and 2007.

Prosecutors say he abused the position, accepting at least $150,000 in bribes from three foreign-owned companies that subsequently received contracts worth millions of dollars.

The statement did not name the companies or say whether they would also face charges. The U.S. attorney's office did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Mendez is scheduled for sentencing March 1 and faces a maximum of 20 years in custody.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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