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Michigan Airport Contractor Sentenced in Federal Program Bribery Scheme

On November 6, 2019, William Pritula, owner of Pritula & Sons Construction, LLC, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Detroit, Michigan, to 24 months’ probation, including 6 months’ home confinement; and a $100 special assessment. He was also ordered to pay $11 million in restitution, an amount owed jointly and severally with co-conspirator James Warner. A forfeiture judgment for $5,474,132.48, previously entered against Pritula and Warner, will be applied to the total restitution amount.
On May 22, 2018, a superseding information charged Pritula with bribery. On May 23, 2018, a second superseding information charged James Warner, a department manager in utilities and infrastructure at the Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA), with conspiracy, theft from a federally funded program, Federal program bribery, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides funding for airport improvement projects to WCAA, which operates and manages the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW).
From 2010 through 2014, Warner’s duties included field inspection and supervision of maintenance and repair projects at DTW. He also had authority to recommend and approve renewals of maintenance and repair contracts at WCAA. From 2003 through 2014, Pritula held contracts for pavement repair and replacement and similar work at DTW. With Pritula’s knowledge and permission, Warner created and submitted fraudulent invoices on behalf of Pritula’s company that indicated work had been performed at DTW. In return, Pritula provided kickbacks to Warner. From September 2010 through October 2014, Pritula’s company received over $18 million from WCAA, and Warner received over $5 million of that amount.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the FBI.