For almost 10 years, Cunningham and his friends in the contracting world operated with impunity, but on June 12, 2005, their conspiracy began to unravel after the Copley News Service and the San Diego Union-Tribune revealed that Wade took the $700,000 loss on the purchase of the congressman's Del Mar house.
As the result of the ensuing investigations, Cunningham pleaded guilty on Nov. 28, 2005, to two counts: conspiracy to commit crimes against the United States (including fraud and bribery) and tax evasion. Prosecutor Phillip Halpern said at the time that every "worthless" contract Cunningham got for his cronies came at the expense of other programs that could have helped the country during war.
On March 3, 2006, Cunningham was sentenced to eight years and four months incarceration out of a possible 10-year sentence. It is the longest sentence ever meted out to a member of Congress. Duke was immediately taken into custody.
Wade pleaded guilty on Feb. 24, 2006, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to conspiring both to bribe Cunningham and to tax evasion; use of interstate facilities to promote bribery; conspiring to deprive the Defense Department of the honest services of its employees; and election fraud. Wade is said to be cooperating with federal investigators and faces up to 11 years and three months incarceration. MZM was sold to an investment firm, Veritas Capital, in August 2005 and now operates as Athena Innovative Solutions. The company says it has taken on some of MZM's old work.
Brent Wilkes was indicted on Feb. 13, 2007, by the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, and will be tried sometime in the near future. He could not be reached, and his attorney did not return phone calls. However, two days after he was indicted, he sent out a news releases through his attorneys, Geragos & Geragos, saying that he "never bribed Cunningham or anyone else I guarantee you, I will be vindicated."
His company, ADCS, no longer exists.
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