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Jasper Businessman Agrees to Guilty Plea in Two-Year College Probe

Birmingham – A Jasper businessman has agreed to plead guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges in an ongoing federal investigation into Alabama's two-year college system.

James Winston Hayes will also forfeit $5 million in profits he received after using bribes to get contracts with the two-year system.

The system used educational material from Hayes' ACCESS Group Software company at its campuses.

The plea agreement says Hayes bribed the system's chancellor and conspired to launder money.

Roy Johnson was chancellor of the system at the time of Hayes' bribery.

Johnson is not named in the agreement and has denied wrongdoing.

The agreement states that from July 2002 to July 2006, Hayes corruptly gave, offered, and agreed to give things of value to the chancellor.

That includes $124,400 to pay costs of a new home Johnson was building in Opelika and $24,418 Hayes paid the Retirement Systems of Alabama on behalf of a former Nursing School Dean at Southern Union State Community College.

He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, up to $500,000 in fines, or both.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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