ST. LOUIS (AP) — A 26-year-old St. Louis paralegal has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges connected to a phony bribery scheme.

Jillian Nichols was accused of promising a client facing a criminal charge in St. Louis County that she could obtain preferential treatment in exchange for $10,000. Federal prosecutors say no such bribe was ever offered.

Nichols also claimed to have planted favorable evidence on the defendant's cellphone while paying a forensic expert to testify in support of the client.

Neither the prosecutor nor the defendant were identified in court, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (bit.ly/1rj2poF ) reports the prosecutor is John Quarenghi, a top assistant to county prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch who resigned after learning that federal investigators were examining his relationship with Nichols. Quarenghi is now a prosecutor in Warren County.

___

Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com