James Warner, the former department manager for utilities and infrastructure at Michigan’s Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA), has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and multimillion-dollar restitution for his role in a multi-year fraud scheme.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan noted that Warner and contractor William Pritula created and submitted fraudulent invoices stating that Pritula’s company performed work at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, which receives FAA infrastructure grants. Warner received kickbacks from the contracts and last June was found guilty on all 10 counts against him, including conspiracy, federal program bribery, federal program theft, money-laundering, and obstruction of justice.
From September 2010 through October 2014, Pritula received more than $18 million from the WCAA, $5 million of which was funneled to Warner. Earlier, Pritula was sentenced to two years of probation, including six months of home confinement, and was jointly assessed $11 million in restitution with Warner and several other co-conspirators. A forfeiture judgment for $5,474,132.48, previously entered against Pritula and Warner will be applied to the total restitution amount.
The investigation was conducted by the DOT-OIG with assistance from the FBI.