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Former VRE manager pleads guilty to bribery
Former VRE employee pleads guilty to bribery charges


Date published: 9/28/2012

BY SCOTT SHENK

A Fredericksburg man faces 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to bribery charges in which the former Virginia Railway Express employee took in severalhundred-thousand dollars over a nine-year period, authorities said.

Kevin Wirth Jannell, fired as VRE's facilities manager in January, pleaded guilty Thursday in Alexandria, according to the Eastern District U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride's office.

According to the plea agreement, the 49-year-old Jannell took in between $200,000 and $400,000 in bribes between 2003 and this March.

The district attorney's office said Jannell gave favorable evaluations for subcontractors that did landscaping and maintenance work at VRE stations, which helped them renew contracts. In exchange, Jannell got up to $4,000 a month, which he concealed by creating a company that billed the subcontractors for doing nothing.

VRE spokesman Mark Roeber said recently that VRE has been cooperating with authorities and that they want the situation to be resolved.

He said VRE initially contacted Alexandria Police after receiving an anonymous email alleging that an employee was taking kickbacks for maintenance contracts. The police then contacted the FBI, which took over the investigation.

"One rogue employee isn't an indictment of VRE," Roeber said.

The FBI is still looking for information that might be related to the case. The agency said anyone with information can call the tip line at 703/686-6225 or send an email to: nova.corrup
Email: tion@ic.fbi.gov.

Jannell is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 21.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436
Email: sshenk@freelancestar.com