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NORFOLK -- A Chesapeake defense contractor was sentenced to four years in federal prison for paying bribes to public officials.

Roderic J. Smith, 50, pleaded guilty to a bribery conspiracy charge on March 5. He was sentenced in a U.S. District Court in Norfolk Monday.

According to court documents, Smith and a business partner paid cash bribes to officials from the Navy's Military Sealift Command in exchange for contracts on various telecommunications projects. About $144,000 changed hands from March 2005 until 2007.

In addition to time behind bars, Smith was also sentenced to one year of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $175,000.

His business partner and a Military Sealift Command official previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme.

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