Four men indicted earlier this week in a federal bribery scheme involving government contracts and kickbacks were ordered to remain behind bars Thursday.
Michael Alexander, a high ranking official with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has emerged as the alleged ringleader in a scheme that netted $20 million in four years. According to prosecutors, $1 million went to a mistress in South Korea to buy a coffee shop. Authorities found $180,000 in cash hidden in his bedroom
His attorney said Alexander's affair had ended and asked that he be released from custody to help his wife, who is battling life-threatening leukemia.
"I don't think the United States needs him to be at the D.C. jail as much as she needs him at home," Christopher Davis.
A magistrate judge disagreed.
The 55-year-old Alexander worked with fellow Army Corps of Engineers official Kerry Khan to steer contracts for kickbacks, prosecutors said. Khan and his son Lee set up shell companies to launder the money, they said.
Lee Khan is a two-time convicted felon who threatened to kill his brother if he told what he knew about the scheme, prosecutors said. The brother, who was in prison, was given $383,000 in hush money, they said.
The fourth defendant, 60-year-old Harold Babb, director of contracts at Dulles-based Eyak Technology transferred $2 million to the Bahamas and $218,000 to Panama, prosecutors said.
The men had plans to steer an almost billion dollar government contract for even more kickbacks, prosecutors said. They would have walked away with $100 million.
Prosecutors are seeking lengthy sentences for all four defendants.