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      Gene Quarles pleads guilty to taking bribes

      ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A U.S. Postal Service official has pleaded guilty to accepting at least $40,000 in bribes in exchange for helping a Maryland company receive $6 million in contracts.

      Forty-seven-year-old Gene Quarles of Spotsylvania pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Alexandria to bribery of a public official and faces up to 15 years in prison.

      Court documents show that Quarles, a purchasing specialist, regularly received cash payments between 2010 and 2012 from the owners of AH Computer Consulting, Inc. in Rockville, Md. On at least one occasion he received $3,500 cash in a brown paper bag.

      In exchange Quarles provided inside information that helped AHCC land two contracts totaling $6 million. Court records show that AHCC has been awarded $31 million in contracts from the Postal Service since 2006.