Former Boeing Co. chief financial officer Michael Sears was sentenced to prison for discussing a job offer with an Air Force procurement official who was overseeing a potential multibillion-dollar contract with the company, according to published reports.
Sears, who earlier had pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting illegal employment negotiations, will serve four months in prison followed by two years’ probation, and will pay a fine of $250,000.
Darleen Druyun, the former Air Force official, pleaded guilty last year, and in October was sentenced to nine months in prison. Druyun admitted giving Boeing special treatment on billions of dollars in contracts while negotiating jobs for herself and family members, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Sears faced as long as five years in prison, reported the Associated Press at the time of his conviction; his lawyers sought probation. According to Reuters, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee maintained that Sears’ conduct was not as bad as Druyuns’, since she initiated the job negotiations.
The Journal also noted that court documents filed in advance of the sentencing hearing blamed Boeing senior management for failing to ask “the logical questions” or “confront the obvious legal and ethical issues” that might have avoided scandal.
Reuters reported that the Department of Justice is continuing its investigation, citing Paul McNulty, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. McNulty offered no comment on the possibility of charges against the company, but he confirmed that the government is trying to recover from Boeing some of the estimated $2.5 million associated with the Sears-Druyun investigation.
Earlier last week, the Journal reported that eight more Air Force contracts valued at about $3 billion are being investigated after a preliminary review revealed they were “unduly influenced” by Druyun.