- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Prince George´s County developer has pleaded guilty in connection with the ongoing federal corruption probe that brought down former County Executive Jack B. Johnson, according to a plea agreement unsealed Thursday.

Daniel Colton, 61, of Annapolis, pleaded guilty on Sept. 13 to conspiracy to commit extortion and to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission.

According to the plea agreement, Colton and other co-conspirators — including developer Patrick Ricker, whose guilty plea in connection with the probe was unsealed last month — bribed state and local government officials with things that included cash, trip expenses, meals, drinks, hotel rooms, airline tickets, rounds of golf, employment, mortgage payments, cash and in-kind campaign contributions. In exchange for the bribes, the officials helped Colton, Ricker and other developers, business owners and their companies.

Colton and the others concealed the campaign contributions by using “straw donors,” including family members and employees, who made the donations and were reimbursed.

The developer and his co-conspirators also provided illegal and undisclosed in-kind contributions, such as campaign signs, food, alcohol and the administrative services of their employees and family members.

Colton faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy to commit extortion, and false statements to the Federal Election Commission.

No sentencing dates have been scheduled.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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