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Monterey official sentenced in desalination case

SALINAS, Calif. (AP) -- A former Monterey County official accused of having an illegal financial interest in a failed county desalination project has been sentenced to nine months in jail.

A judge issued the sentence on Thursday against Steve Collins, who used to sit on the county's Water Resources Agency. The Monterey Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1njPhPf) that Collins is expected to qualify for home confinement.

Authorities say Collins was paid more than $160,000 by a private company for work he did on the $400 million desalination project in 2010 while he was on the water board. He was also accused of accepting payments from a farm company for meetings he didn't attend.

Collins pleaded no contest in March to felony grand theft and conflict of interest charges and a misdemeanor count of receiving payment for an official act.

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Information from: The Monterey County Herald, http://www.montereyherald.com

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