No Free Lunch – Former Civilian Navy Employee Pleads Guilty to Taking Bribes from Defense Firms

Federal courthouse
Federal courthouse in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

A former San Diego-based Navy civilian employee pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges Thursday.

Prosecutors say Dawnell Parker, 54, took bribes from two defense firms in the form of free meals in exchange for helping to secure lucrative government contracts.

Parker, of Athens, Ala., who once worked at the Naval Information Warfare Center, received “thousands of dollars in free meals” from restaurants, including Ruth’s Chris, De Medici Cucina and the University Club, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In return, she advocated on behalf of defense contractors seeking “millions of dollars in government contracts.”

Parker’s plea agreement states that over the course of three years, she and a co-worker took bribes from the president and CEO of a defense contractor based in Fredericksburg, Va. She and her co-worker also received bribes from another contractor that has offices in San Diego and Stafford, Va., the plea agreement states.

A U.S. Attorney’s Office news release announcing Parker’s guilty plea did not name the contractors or Parker’s co-worker, nor whether they are facing charges. She faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

“Corruption in the defense procurement process wastes taxpayer dollars and undercuts public confidence in government,” U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath said in a statement. “The contracting process must be reliable and honest to ensure our service members receive the best possible support.”

– City News Service