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Fla. man gets 5 years for $30M NASA contract fraud

Friday - 2/28/2014, 3:55pm  ET

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- A Florida man has been sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a $30 million fraud and bribery scheme that duped NASA into awarding contracts that should have gone to minority-owned businesses.

Sixty-year-old Michael Dunkel of Merritt Island, Fla., falsely claimed he was an employee of an Arlington, Va.-based company that received contract preferences through a federal set-aside program.

In reality, Dunkel paid a kickback to the Arlington company so it would pass the work on to him.

As it turned out, the company that Dunkel used as a front wasn't eligible, either. That company used a Portuguese woman as a figurehead CEO to claim status as a disadvantaged small business.

Dunkel, sentenced Friday in federal court in Alexandria, is the eighth person convicted in the scheme.

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