A businessman says a former Mississippi prison official solicited the first in a series of bribes that eventually mounted to $1.5 million.

Former Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps and businessman Cecil McCrory pleaded guilty Wednesday — Epps to two felony counts and McCrory to one.

McCrory says Epps initially pushed McCrory to pay off his mortgage.

Epps eventually steered $2 million in contracts to McCrory, and helped him collect $3 million more in fees on hundreds of millions in contracts awarded to companies employing McCrory.

Epps faces up to 23 years in prison and fines of $750,000 at sentencing June 9. He's agreed to forfeit $2 million in assets.

McCrory faces up to 20 years and fines of $500,000 at sentencing June 10. He's agreed to forfeit $1.7 million in assets.