Retired Army Colonel Pleads Guilty to Breaking Law in Job Hunt

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A retired Army colonel pleaded guilty to negotiating his post-military employment with a helicopter company that did business with the Defense Department office he ran while still in uniform, according to court records filed Tuesday by U.S. government attorneys.

The former officer, Norbert Vergez, caused the terms of a contract to be adjusted so that the company would be paid faster, said a plea agreement detailing the charges. Vergez also failed to disclose on his ethics form that he had received a $30,000 check from a second company for relocation expenses. Officers of Vergez's seniority are typically allowed to be reimbursed by Defense Department for their final moving expenses.

The companies are not named in the records, which were filed in U.S. District Court in Alabama. But the documents describe MD Helicopters in Mesa, Arizona, and Patriarch Partners, a private equity firm in New York. Both companies are owned by Wall Street executive Lynn Tilton.

Vergez, 49, went to work for Tilton three months after retiring from military service in November 2012. Attorneys for Vergez did not respond to a request for comment.

The Associated Press reported in March 2014 that Vergez and Tilton were in unusually close contact for more than a year before he retired.

In an emailed statement, Patriarch Partners said it and MD Helicopters cooperated fully with the government's investigation. "Mr. Vergez's plea agreement does not contain any allegations of improper conduct by MD Helicopters, Patriarch Partners, or any of its personnel," according to the statement.

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