Monday, September 29, 2008

Foggo pleads guilty to fraud

There are 118 days until Jan. 20, 2009.

Foggo pleads guilty to fraud

By Debbi Baker


12:20 p.m. September 29, 2008

A former high-ranking CIA official pleaded guilty Monday in Alexandria, Va., to one count of fraud stemming from the Randall "Duke" Cunningham bribery scandal that landed the former congressman and a Poway defense contractor in prison.

Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, 53, who resigned as the executive director of the CIA in 2006, admitted he used his position to steer millions of dollars in lucrative government contracts toward the company of his best friend Brent Wilkes, a Poway defense contractor, prosecutors said Monday.

Foggo and Wilkes hid their relationship by using false cover stories, "straw men" and shell companies to conceal the manipulation of the CIA contracts, according to prosecutors.

In return, Foggo accepted tens of thousands of dollars in meals, trips and "sexual companionship," along with a standing offer for a high-paying job at Wilkes' company, prosecutors said.

Foggo is a San Diego native who graduated from San Diego State University before he began a 23-year career with the CIA. He became the agency's executive director, the third-highest position, in November 2004.

He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. He has been free on bond, and sentencing is scheduled for January 8, 2009.

The longtime friends were originally indicted in the Southern District of California, based in San Diego, in February 2007. A year later, federal prosecutors elected to try the case against Foggo in Virginia, where they alleged most of the crimes occurred. Wilkes was also dropped from the case at that time.

In May, a new indictment was filed against Foggo that alleged he received bribes in the form of "sexual companionship" in exchange for helping Wilkes.

Foggo pleaded guilty to a bribery charge under this indictment. In November 2007, a jury convicted Wilkes of 13 counts of bribery, conspiracy, fraud and money laundering and he was sentenced in February to 12 years in prison.

Cunningham, a Republican who lived in Rancho Santa Fe, was sentenced in March 2006 to an eight-year, four-month sentence after admitting to accepting more than $2.4 million in bribes. He pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and tax evasion.

The bribery scandal came to light after The San Diego Union-Tribune published a Copley News Service story that disclosed that Cunningham had sold his Del Mar home to another defense contractor for an inflated price.

Cunningham used the proceeds to buy a $2.55 million home in Rancho Santa Fe.


Debbi Baker: (619) 293-1710;

Copyright 2007 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.

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