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Prison Term In Panama Bribes Case

John Webster Warwick, a Virginia Beach, Va., resident, was sentenced Friday to 37 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to pay bribes to former Panamanian government officials to secure maritime contracts.

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

Warwick, 64, pleaded guilty in February 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). A copy of his plea agreement can be downloaded here.

In April this year, Warwick’s co-defendant in the case, Charles Jumet, was sentenced to 87 months in prison and fined $15,000. It was the longest sentence ever in an FCPA-related case. Jumet, 53, pleaded guilty in November last year to being part of the overseas bribery conspiracy that began in 1996. The Justice Department hasn’t commented on the fifty-month difference in the sentences handed out to Jumet and Warwick. Jumet, however, was also charged with lying to federal investigators. A copy of his plea agreement can be downloaded here.

Warwick and Jumet admitted conspiring to make secret payments to Panamanian government officials for awarding contracts to PECC to maintain lighthouses and buoys. In December 1997, the Panamanian government awarded PECC a no-bid 20-year concession. Warwick, Jumet and others then arranged bribes to the officials of “more than $200,000,” according to the DOJ.

A copy of the DOJ’s June 25, 2010 release can be downloaded here.

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