Arlington, Virginia - A North Carolina woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in the Eastern District of Virginia to engaging in a bribery scheme with a former contracting officer for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), now known as the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

According to court documents, Rita M. Starliper, 60, of Greensboro, was the owner and CEO of a government contracting firm that previously provided professional staffing services to the BBG. Between late 2014 and late 2016, Starliper, a BBG contracting officer, and others associated with Starliper’s company agreed to and did hire and pay the contracting officer’s relative for a job involving minimal work and that resulted in payments to the relative of more than $68,000. In exchange, the BBG contracting officer took official actions that benefitted Starliper and her company, including the awarding of a professional staffing contract worth millions of dollars. The BBG contracting officer also took steps to steer the procurement process and provide preferential treatment to Starliper’s company.

Starliper pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services mail fraud. She is scheduled to be sentenced on November 5, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh of the Eastern District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge Elisabeth Kaminsky of the U.S. Department of State Office of Inspector General and Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.

The Department of State Office of Inspector General and the FBI investigated the case.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and Senior Litigation Counsel Edward P. Sullivan and Trial Attorney Jordan Dickson of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting the case.