by: Catherine Rogers
A Chesapeake man pleaded guilty to bribing public officials Wednesday. Senior United States District Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr. accepted the plea from 50-year-old Roderic J. Smith, who was charged via criminal information on Wednesday with conspiracy to bribe public officials, according to Deanna Warren with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
“According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Smith and his business partner, Dwayne A. Hardman, established a government contracting corporation in Chesapeake in November 2004,” Warren said.
The corporation’s business was to support the Military Sealift Command (MSC) on telecommunications projects. But, beginning in March 2005, Smith and Harman turned to bribery to attain government contracts. For about two years, they paid two MSC officials about $3,000 each in cash every month, totaling about $144,000.
“Hardman left the company in 2009, and Smith managed the company as president until he resigned in late 2013,” Warren said.
On Feb. 12, 2014, one of the MSC officials, Kenny Toy, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in conjunction with the scheme, and on Feb. 18, Hardman, pleaded guilty to bribery. On Feb. 19, Smith’s business partner, Michael P. McPhail, pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
Smith faces a maximum penalty of five years when he is sentenced on June 23.