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February 10, 2010 

Virginia Resident Pleads Guilty in Connection With Role in Conspiracy to Pay Bribes to Obtain Business in Panama

Despite the snow in the Washington, DC area, the blizzard of FCPA prosectutions continues.

Today, John W. Warwick pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson in Richmond, Virginia., 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

According to the indictment issued on December 15, 2009, PECC, a company incorporated under the laws of Panama, was affiliated with an engineering firm based in Virginia Beach. According to the indictment, PECC was created so that Warwick, co-conspirator Charles Jumet, an the engineering firm could obtain certain maritime contracts from the Panamanian government.

According to the Justice Department, Warwick and Jumet participated in a conspiracy to pay money secretly to Panamanian government officials for awarding contracts to PECC to maintain lighthouses and buoy in Panama. In December 1997, the Panamanian government awarded PECC a no-bid, 20-year concession to perform these duties. Upon receipt of the concession, Warwick, Jumet, and others authorized payments to be made to the Panamanian government officials.

In connection with his guilty plea, Warwick admitted that at least from 1997 through approximately July 2003, he, Jumet and others conspired to make corrupt payments totaling more than $200,000 to the former administrator and deputy administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority and to a former, high-ranking elected executive official of the Republic of Panama.

As part of his plea agreement, Warwick agreed to forfeit $331,000,the proceeds of the contract. At sentencing, scheduled for May 14, 2010, Warwick faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gain.

Jumet pleaded guilty on Nov. 13, 2009, 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, in violation of the FCPA, and making a false statement. Jumet is scheduled to be sentenced on March 26, 2010.

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