- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A federal court on Wednesday exonerated four former high-ranking Army officers accused of orchestrating a large-scale bribery scheme involving under-the-table payments to Pentagon acquisition officials in an attempt to secure lucrative Defense Department contracts for their Virginia-based government contracting firm.

Edwin Livingston III, 67; Ronald Tipa, 68; Thomas Taylor, 66; and Ross DeBlois Sr., 55, were all found not guilty on a total of 32 counts of bribery and fraud, according to a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Federal prosecutors alleged the four men, all retired colonels in the Army National Guard, used their government contracting company, Military Personnel Services Corporation, or MPCS, to bribe Defense Department officials to steer Pentagon acquisition and services contracts to the Falls Church, Virginia-based firm.

Mr. Livingston, Mr. Tipa and Mr. Taylor each owned 25 percent of MPSC and constituted MPSC’s board of directors. Mr. DeBlois was the company’s CEO.

Alleged co-conspirator Army National Guard Col. Robert Porter, 50, pleaded guilty in September 2014 to conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery of a public official.

Porter reportedly steered at least three contracts to Military Personnel Services Corporation worth $5.5 million during 2011 and 2012 while he was “in uniform,” receiving over $50,000 for his efforts, according to Justice Department officials.

Along with Porter, Army National Guard Brig. Gen. John Jones, 76, also pleaded guilty last February to the role he played in the corruption scheme. Jones, who held a 25 percent ownership of MPSC, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, according to FBI officials.

With Wednesday’s ruling, Porter and Jones are the only individuals to be convicted on federal bribery and corruption charges tied to MPSC.

At its peak, the company had more than 1,600 contracted employees across the United States that supported various programs within the Defense Department, according to court documents.

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