Boeing CFO gets four-month jail sentence

Michael Sears also fined $250,000 for illegally negotiating a job for a top Air Force official at the nation’s second-largest defense contractor.

Former Boeing Chief Financial Officer Michael Sears was sentenced to four months in federal prison and fined $250,000 on Friday for illegally negotiating a job for a top Air Force official at the nation's second-largest defense contractor.

"I know what I did was wrong and I am truly sorry," Sears, 57, said in federal district court in Alexandria, Va.

Sears recruited Darleen Druyun, a top Air Force procurement official--via e-mails and a secret meeting at a Florida airport--to a $250,000-per-year job overseeing Boeing's missile defense contracts.

Druyun was sentenced last fall to nine months in a minimum-security federal prison in Florida. She had negotiated the Boeing job while still working for the Air Force overseeing billion of dollars in Boeing contracts. In court, Druyun admitted to favoring the company in some contract talks in exchange for a job for herself, her daughter and son-in-law.

In court documents filed before the sentencing, federal prosecutors pushed for a six-month sentence for Sears, who had been fired by Boeing in 2003 and pleaded guilty last November. They also questioned whether Boeing's senior executives could have done more to probe the Sears-Druyun relationship before she was hired.

"The senior management of Boeing did not confront the obvious legal and ethical issues presented by these employment negotiations," prosecutors said.

Lawyers for Sears had sought probation, but U.S. District Judge Gerald Lee said prison time was necessary because Sears' actions had damaged the integrity of the Pentagon acquisition system.

Several contractors have lodged protests over work awarded to Boeing during Druyun's tenure at the Pentagon from 1993 to 2002. The Government Accountability Office and the Defense Department's inspector general are looking into contracts she awarded.

On Friday, GAO ordered the Air Force to reopen a competition for some parts of a contract awarded to Boeing to build a small-diameter bomb. The agency found that Druyun had modified parts of the contract to favor Boeing over contractor Lockheed Martin. GAO says the Air Force must reopen the parts of the contract that were modified to subject them to full competition.

GAO officials also said that within the next week, the agency will rule on protests over an award Druyun oversaw to Boeing for modernizing avionics on C-130 aircraft.