Businessman accused of bribing state, Micronesian workers for government contracts pleads guilty

Businessman pleads guilty to bribing state workers

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A local engineering executive accused of bribing state and Micronesian officials pleaded guilty to conspiracy in federal court Tuesday.

Jim Lyon, 53, was accused of paying $240,000 in bribes to an unidentified state agency official, who helped steer a $2.5 million contract to his company.

He is also accused of bribing officials in Micronesia for nearly $8 million in federal contracts.

Experts said bribery cases like this are rarely prosecuted, even though the practice of illegal payoffs does secretly happen in Hawaii.

“An outright, here’s $250,000 for $2.5 million, that’s rare," said former state Campaign Spending Commission executive director Bob Watada.

“The consumer pays for it in the end.”

Lyon has agreed to cooperate with the federal officials, who did not say who received the bribes.

Conspiracy is punishable by up to five years in prison. Lyon’s sentencing is set for May 13.

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