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California Official, 7 Others Charged In Construction Fraud

(AP) - A former high-ranking official in California's veterans affairs department is among eight people facing charges in alleged fraud schemes involving state and federal construction contracts.

Federal prosecutors in San Francisco announced the charges Friday against Eric Worthen, a former assistant deputy secretary in the veterans affairs department, and the seven other defendants - most of them contractors.

Prosecutors said the investigation that led to the indictment was prompted by an earlier probe that ensnared former California state Sen. Leland Yee and San Francisco Chinatown gang tough Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow.

The indictment accuses Worthen and a second man, Taj Armon Reid, of taking $12,000 in bribes in exchange for helping a developer try to win two state construction contracts.

Court records did not list attorneys for Worthen or Reid.

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