A former Virginia Railway Express employee was sentenced to two years in prison Friday for taking bribes in order to assure that a rail subcontractor was retained, according to a news release from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Former facilities manager Kevin W. Jannell, 49, of Fredericksburg, had pleaded guilty to orchestrating a kickback scheme under which he received thousands in payments from 2003 through March 2012, according to court documents.

He was ordered to forfeit and repay $357,000 and complete 100 hours of community service, prosecutors said.

“Bribes should never be just another cost of doing business with the government,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride in a statement. “Those who corrupt the contracting process will spend years in prison paying for their crimes.”

Jannell conspired for a person from a company identified in court documents only as “Company A” to make monthly deposits of about $4,000. He gave the company positive internal evaluations and spoke with the primary maintenance contractor’s executives to help ensure the company was retained as a subcontractor.

Mark Roeber, a VRE spokesman, has said that the arrangement under scrutiny involved a subcontractor who was hired as part of a five-year, $2.6 million-a-year contract for landscaping, trash removal and other maintenance work.

The primary contractor, NV Enterprises of Reston, was offered a six-month extension for $1.6 million in October, as VRE’s leaders were worried about switching to a different contractor just before the winter season. VRE officials plan to re-bid the contract at the end of the six months, Roeber said.

A copy of a subcontractor’s invoice obtained by The Post indicated that a $3,000 payment for “consulting services” was paid to a company owned by the former employee.That’s the scheme that prosecutors outlined in court documents. Jannell sought to keep the payments secret by having them deposited into a shell company’s account.

Jannell’s attorney, federal public defender Whitney Minter, declined to comment Friday.