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      Army major pleads guilty to accepting gratuities

      Federal attorneys said 40-year-old Ulysses S. Hicks of Sumter, S.C., pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to conspiracy to accept illegal gratuities.

      WASHINGTON (AP) -- A U.S. Army major has pleaded guilty to accepting thousands of dollars in gratuities from contractors while he was in Iraq.

      Federal attorneys said 40-year-old Ulysses S. Hicks of Sumter, S.C., pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to conspiracy to accept illegal gratuities.

      Court documents say Hicks was a U.S. Army captain serving as a pay agent for money used to buy miscellaneous items and supplies from local vendors.

      Authorities said from about March 2007 through October 2008, Hicks and a co-conspirator sought, received and accepted illegal gratuities for helping Iraqi contractors get U.S. government contracts.

      Hicks faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and as much as three years of supervised release. He's agreed to pay $65,409 plus interest in restitution to the United States.

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