updated 10/1/2004 12:11:48 PM ET 2004-10-01T16:11:48

A former top Air Force procurement official was sentenced to nine months in prison Friday after admitting that she helped Boeing Co. obtain an inflated price on a $23 billion contract in exchange for an executive job at the company.

Darleen Druyun of Vienna, Va., had pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to violate federal conflict-of-interest regulations.

At her sentencing in U.S. District Court on Friday, prosecutors said Druyun failed a lie-detector test and was forced to admit that she helped Boeing obtain better deals on the contract to provide refueling tanker planes and other contracts.

“She did this as a parting gift to Boeing and to ingratiate herself into Boeing,” said assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Wiechering.

She was ordered to spend nine months in prison and seven months in a halfway house. Prosecutors had sought 16 months.

Druyun and former Boeing chief financial officer Michael Sears were the subjects of a federal grand jury investigation of the Air Force’s plan to acquire 100 refueling tankers from the Chicago-based jet maker.

Boeing fired Druyun and Sears in November for what the company termed unethical behavior.

Prosecutors said Sears improperly contacted Druyun about a possible top-level company job in 2002, when she still was at the Air Force and playing a key role in deciding whether Boeing should get the tanker contract, which could be worth up to $23 billion.

Druyun retired from the Air Force in November 2002 and joined Boeing in January 2003 as deputy general manager of its Missile Defense Systems unit.

When Druyun pleaded guilty, she had admitted only to technical violations of the conflict-of-interest rules. Specifically, she said she had negotiated a deal to become a vice president at the giant aircraft manufacturer and defense contractor while she was still an Air Force officer with influence over Boeing contracts.

After failing government polygraph tests, however, she admitted that her conflict produced substantive benefits for Boeing in that she altered journals provided to the government to cover up her story.

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