HONOLULU – John Winslett, 65, of Bristol, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty today in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to accept kickbacks in connection with a U.S. government contract. Winslett admitted that he bribed government contracting officials in order to steer federal contracts worth at least $19 million to his employer, a government contractor. Winslett further admitted that he accepted $723,333.33 in kickbacks from a local subcontractor, in exchange for Winslett assigning those contracts to that local subcontractor. Sentencing is scheduled for January 16, 2020 before Chief U.S. District Judge John M. Seabright.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kenji M. Price for the District of Hawaii, Special Agent in Charge Ray Park of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (Army CID), Special Agent in Charge Bryan Denny of the U.S. Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and acting Special Agent in Charge Eli S. Miranda of FBI’s Honolulu Field Office made the announcement.
According to court documents and information presented in court, from 2011 to 2018, Winslett paid over $100,000 worth of bribes to two U.S. Army contracting officials who worked at the Range at Schofield Barracks. The bribes included cash, automobiles, and firearms. In return, the contracting officials used their positions to benefit Winslett’s employer in securing U.S. Army contracts. Winslett also arranged for one of the contracting officials, Franklin Raby, to receive a job at his employer immediately following his retirement from the Department of Defense Civil Service. Raby has previously pled guilty to receiving bribes. Another contracting official, Victor Garo, has been charged with receiving bribes, and a change-of-plea is scheduled for later in October.
"Fair play in the competitive bidding process is critical to obtaining quality products and services for our uniformed personnel," stated U.S. Attorney Price. "Our law enforcement community will continue to hold those accountable who violate the law by failing to act with honesty and integrity in military contracting."
The case was investigated by Army CID, DCIS, FBI, and the Defense Contract Audit Agency. It was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Laura Connelly and Assistant Chief Justin Weitz of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Wallenstein for the District of Hawaii.
Ashley Mah Edwards