4-year bribery sentence upheld for Ohio contractor

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Associated Press

Posted on March 11, 2014 at 3:01 PM

CINCINNATI (AP) — A construction contractor serving four years in prison for bribing a federal government official lost his bid on Tuesday to have his conviction thrown out or his sentenced reduced.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati rejected arguments from Samuel Mays, of Cincinnati, that the criminal indictment against him was deficient or that the district judge gave him an overly harsh sentence.

Mays, 62, was found guilty in September 2012 of bribery, embezzlement and other charges.

Prosecutors say Mays and another contractor, Paul McDonald, of Pleasant Hill, Calif., provided substantial home improvements and cash bribes worth more than $175,000 from 2005 to 2011 to David Mersch, then the operations officer for the Cincinnati offices of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

In exchange, prosecutors say, Mersch awarded lucrative contracts to Mays and McDonald.

Mersch, who lived in Florence, Ky., was sentenced to four years in prison for his role, while McDonald was sentenced to five years of probation. Both testified against Mays at his trial.

Mays also was convicted of withdrawing about $125,000 from his employees' paychecks for their retirement plans but never depositing the money.

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