News and Press Releases

Virginia Resident Sentenced to 37 Months in Prison for Bribing Foreign Government Officials

June 25, 2010

WASHINGTON - John Webster Warwick, a Virginia Beach, Va., resident, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Richmond, Va., to 37 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to pay bribes to former Panamanian government officials to secure maritime contracts, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia; Assistant Director in Charge Shawn Henry of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Michael Morehart of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office and Special Agent in Charge John P. Torres of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Washington office.

U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson also sentenced Warwick to two years of supervised release following his prison term.  In addition, Warwick forfeited $331,000 in proceeds of the crime.

On Feb. 10, 2010, Warwick, 64, pleaded guilty to a one-count indictment charging him with conspiring to make corrupt payments to foreign government officials for the purpose of securing business for Ports Engineering Consultants Corporation (PECC) in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  Under the FCPA, it is a crime to pay or offer to pay anything of value to a foreign government official in order to obtain or retain business.

        According to court documents, Warwick, Charles Jumet and others conspired to pay money secretly to Panamanian government officials for awarding contracts to PECC to maintain lighthouses and buoys along Panama’s waterway.  In December 1997, the Panamanian government awarded PECC a no-bid 20-year concession.  Upon receipt of the concession, Warwick, Jumet and others authorized corrupt payments to be made to the Panamanian government officials.  In total, Warwick, Jumet and others caused corrupt payments of more than $200,000 to be paid to the Panamanian government officials.

In a related case, Jumet pleaded guilty to a two-count criminal information charging him with conspiring to make corrupt payments to foreign government officials for the purpose of securing business for PECC and making a false statement.  On April 19, 2010, Jumet was sentenced to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $15,000.             

This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Rina Tucker Harris of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Dry of the Eastern District of Virginia.  The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement.



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