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Ex-Redstone official faces U.S. bribery, tax charges

By Seth Burkett 340-2355

HUNTSVILLE — A former director at Redstone Arsenal was charged with taking $1.6 million in bribes for giving preference to certain contractors at U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

Michael L. Cantrell, 51, of Huntsville faces charges of bribery, conspiracy and tax evasion.

Cantrell headed the Joint Center for Technology Integration and its later incarnation, the Integrated Capabilities Management Directorate, from 2000 to April 2007.

$1.6 million in kickbacks

"Cantrell corrupted his leadership position by taking $1.6 million in kickbacks to allow certain contractors to perpetrate a massive procurement fraud scheme," said U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin.

"He has been cooperating, and we expect other individuals to be charged in the near future," Martin said.

Douglas Harry Ennis, 48, an Athens man who served as deputy director of the Joint Center for Technology Integration, also faces charges in an indictment unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court.

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command is responsible for research, development and acquisition of systems for use against ballistic missiles.

Contract proposals

Martin said Cantrell and his subordinates were authorized to evaluate proposals for contracts. Those evaluations were included in submissions to the office in charge of contracting.

Cantrell's capacity as director of JCTI and ICMD gave him decision-making authority over certain projects, Martin said.

Charges against Cantrell include one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, two counts of bribery and one count of personal income tax evasion in 2002. Martin said the government will seek forfeiture of proceeds Cantrell received, including his home in Huntsville.

Both bribery counts allege that Cantrell received money or things of value from people who had an interest and influence over companies that had contracts with the Space and Missile Defense Command. Different contractors were involved in the schemes, Martin said.

Tax evasion

In 2002, Cantrell filed a tax return stating his joint taxable income was $156,785, when the actual amount was $514,838 due to bribes, Martin said.

The two-count indictment against Ennis charges him with making false statements to the Army on a financial disclosure form.

Martin said Ennis lied on the form to cover up bribes paid by representatives of sub-contractors or vendors on contracts funded by the Space and Missile Defense Command.

The indictment alleges Ennis failed to report $4,900 he received between October 2001 and September 2002, and $75,000 he received in 2003 and 2004.

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