Virginia Resident Pleads Guilty to Bribing Panamanian Officials for Maritime Contract

WASHINGTON – Charles Paul Edward Jumet of Fluvanna County, Va., pleaded

guilty today in connection with his role in a conspiracy to pay bribes

to Panamanian government officials to secure a maritime contract,

announced Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny A.

Breuer, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H.

MacBride,

Joseph Persichini Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office,

Jennifer Smith Love, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI’s Richmond

Field Office and James A. Dinkins, Special Agent-in-Charge of U.S.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Investigation,

Washington.

Jumet, 53, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis W. Dohnal

in Richmond, Va., to a two-count information 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); and making a false statement.

PECC, a company incorporated under the laws of Panama, was affiliated

with Overman Associates, an engineering firm based in Virginia Beach,

Va. According to Jumet’s plea, PECC was created so Jumet, Overman

Associates and others could corruptly obtain a maritime contract from

the Panamanian government.

According to court documents, Jumet was involved in a conspiracy to pay

money secretly to Panamanian government officials for awarding PECC

contracts to maintain lighthouses and buoys along Panama’s waterway. In

December 1997, the Panamanian government awarded PECC a no-bid, 20-year

concession to perform these duties. In exchange for the concession,

Jumet and others authorized corrupt payments to the Panamanian

government officials.

In 2000, Panama’s Comptroller General’s Office suspended the contract

while it investigated the government’s decision to award PECC a

contract without soliciting any bids from other firms. In 2003, the

Panama government resumed making payments to PECC.

In connection with his guilty plea, Jumet admitted that from at least

1997 through approximately July 2003, he and others conspired to make

corrupt payments totaling more than $200,000 to the former

administrator and deputy administrator of Panama’s National Maritime

Ports Authority and to a former, high-ranking elected executive

official of the Republic of Panama.

In his guilty plea, Jumet also admitted that he knowingly made a false

statement to federal agents about a December 1997 “dividend” check

payable to the bearer in the amount of $18,000, which was endorsed and

deposited into an account belonging to the former, high-ranking elected

executive official. Jumet admitted that he had falsely claimed that

this “dividend” check was a donation for the high-ranking official’s

re-election campaign. Jumet also admitted that the “dividend” check was

in fact given to the former official as a corrupt payment for allowing

PECC to receive the contract from the Panamanian government.

As part of his plea agreement, Jumet has agreed to cooperate with the

Department of Justice in its ongoing investigation. The conspiracy

count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of

the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the

scheme. The false statement count carries a maximum penalty of five

years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for

Feb. 12, 2010.

The 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 U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of

Virginia. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field

Office, the FBI’s Richmond Field Office and ICE’s Office of

Investigation, Richmond and Washington.

SOURCE: USDOJ

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