(AP) A federal court of appeals has upheld the sentence of a former civilian Navy employee for orchestrating a long-running $18 million kickback scheme. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Providence, Rhode Island, upheld the sentence imposed by the district court on Wednesday. Ralph M. Mariano had asked the court to throw out his 10-year prison sentence. He argued he was not given credit at sentencing for accepting responsibility, which would have resulted in a shorter prison term. The government argued Mariano was not entitled to a more lenient sentence because after he pleaded guilty, he claimed the crimes never happened. It also said he waived his right to appeal. Mariano worked for the Navy in Washington and lived in Virginia. The scheme also involved people and companies in Georgia and Rhode Island.