Local News

DOT engineer pleads guilty to extortion

Posted April 7, 2009 3:02 p.m. EDT

— An engineer with the state Department of Transportation pleaded guilty Monday to extorting kickbacks from an excavation company.

Dalton Ray Alligood Jr. pleaded guilty to a federal charge of extortion under the color of money. He will be sentenced in July, when he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Alligood was the district engineer in charge of bridge maintenance in Pitt and Beaufort counties, and federal authorities said he used his position to obtain kickbacks from contractors in exchange for contract awards.

In mid-2004, he began to socialize with one of the owners of an unidentified excavation company, and he provided the company with two small rental contracts. The company owners offered Alligood a 10 percent kickback on all future contracts to ensure they would get more business, authorities said.

Alligood demanded that the kickbacks be paid in cash, and he made almost $30,000 in kickbacks from the company between August 2004 and December 2006, authorities said.

The scheme ended when three other DOT officials were arrested on charges that they also extorted kickbacks from contractors.

“The defendant was an employee of the state of North Carolina and was responsible to perform his duties free of any conflict or improper personal gain. Unfortunately, he set aside those obligations and forgot who he worked for," U.S. Attorney George Holding said in a statement.