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Former Arizona official pleads guilty to taking bribes from debt company

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — A former Arizona public official pleaded guilty Monday to one count of bribery after he accepted at least $26,000 in exchange for giving a debt collection company confidential government information.

Leslie Gene Nelson, 59, accepted the cash bribes from 2010 to 2013 and helped Culver City, California-based Professional Collection Consultants collect about $1 million in debts, according to a press release.

Nelson worked for the Arizona Department of Economic Security and gave PCC government database information about thousands of people’s income, using Social Security numbers the company provided.

PCC gave Nelson the Social Security numbers used the information to determine whether or not it should sue debtors to recover their money.

Along with the bribes, Nelson received a 10 percent commission on the debt recovered.

Nelson faces up to 10 years in federal prison for the felony and will be sentenced on June 24.

In May, the company was fined $350,000 and ordered to forfeit the money Nelson had helped recover, while one of its employee was sentenced to three years probation for conspiracy to commit federal program bribery.

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