June 5, 2019
Former Michigan Airport Official Convicted in Bribery and Kickback Scheme
On June 5, 2019, James Warner was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court, Detroit, Michigan, for his role in a complex white-collar fraud scheme at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW). He was found guilty on all 10 counts, including conspiracy, Federal program bribery, Federal program theft, money-laundering, and obstruction of justice—all in connection with maintenance and repair contracts for runways and parking structures at DTW.
Warner was formerly the department manager for utilities and infrastructure at the Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA). FAA provided funding for airport improvement projects at WCAA, which operates and manages DTW.
From 2010 through 2014, Warner’s duties included field inspection and supervision of maintenance and repair projects at DTW. He also had the authority to recommend and approve the continuation of maintenance and repair contracts at WCAA. From 2003 through 2014, Pritula & Sons Construction (Pritula) held contracts for pavement repair and replacement and similar work at DTW. With the knowledge of and permission from Pritula’s owner, Warner created and submitted fraudulent invoices that indicated the company had performed work at DTW. In return, Pritula gave Warner kickbacks. From September 2010 through October 2014, Pritula received over $18 million from WCAA, and Warner received over $5 million of that amount.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the FBI.