ATLANTA (AP) - A California man has pleaded guilty in Atlanta's
federal court for his part in a plot to defraud a prison construction firm out of almost $13 million.
Howard A. Sperling of San Diego entered the guilty plea Monday to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He could received up to 20 years in prison when sentenced April 30.
Federal prosecutors say the 44-year-old Sperling and two others conspired to defraud Cornell Corrections of California Inc., which
operates 71 private corrections facilities in 15 states.
In 2003, Cornell was hired to build a prison in Canon City, Colo., and the $13 million purchase price was to be placed in escrow until completion. Cornell was induced to transfer the money to an Atlanta account, and most of it was then diverted.
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