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CONTRACTOR ENTERS GUILTY PLEA TO LITTLE DELL DAM KICKBACKS

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A guilty plea has been entered in what federal investigators say was a $333,543 kickback scheme between a government contractor at the Little Dell Dam and a Lehi sand-and-gravel subcontractor.

Raymond Clement, a South Carolina man employed by prime contractor Clement-Starnes, admitted Wednesday soliciting six illegal kickback payments from John Gann of Ridgepoint Sand & Gravel in Lehi."In exchange for the monies in these payments, I awarded certain subcontracts to John Gann-Ridge-point," Clement told U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene. "John Gann was rewarding me for favorable treatment."

In a plea bargain with federal prosecutors, Clement, 51, and his company pleaded guilty to two felonies under the Anti-Kickback Act. Clement, who said he was the dam project manager, has been cooperating with federal agents and agreed Wednesday to give trial testimony if needed.

Gann, 55, was indicted last week on six felony charges stemming from the individual alleged kickback payments between August 1991 and March 1992. His case is pending.

Evidence shows Gann overbilled Clement-Starnes for fill material, then funneled the overpayments to bank accounts Clement controlled, according to court records and prosecutor Gregory Diamond.

Clement has agreed to repay the government the $333,543.

Diamond told the judge there are a "number of other entities" under scrutiny.

Defense attorney Peter Stirba entered the guilty plea for Raymond Clement's corporation, Catawba Management. The firm could be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Clement could be imprisoned and fined when he is sentenced Oct. 18.