- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The former chief executive of a politically connected engineering firm has admitted to his role in a $1 million scheme to get around New Jersey’s pay-to-play laws.

The state Attorney General’s office said that 72-year-old Howard Birdsall pleaded guilty Thursday to corporate misconduct.

He ran Birdsall Services Group before investigators found that the company disguised illegal corporate political contributions as personal contributions from firm employees. The firm would have been disqualified from public contracts if made contributions to campaigns and political organizations in its own name.

The state will recommend that Birdsall be sentenced to four years in state prison. He must also pay nearly $50,000 to the state. That’s the amount of political contributions he made that were reimbursed by the firm.

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