CRIME

Sidharth Handa, former Army captain, sentenced

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A decorated former Army captain has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking more than $300,000 in bribes from Afghan contractors, a scheme the government called the largest bribery case to be prosecuted related to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

Sidharth Handa of Charlotte, N.C., who received the Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan, was arrested earlier this year after being targeted in an undercover sting.

According to federal prosecutors in Alexandria, Handa was assigned to help coordinate reconstruction projects in Afghanistan. He solicited $1.3 million in bribes and received $315,000, which he split with an interpreter.

His defense lawyers said Handa agreed to a scheme suggested by the interpreter, who insisted that kickbacks were common practice.

The 10-year sentence was the minimum the judge could impose.

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