Vermont Resident Charged in Scheme to Extort Defendant in a High-Profile Palm Beach County State Criminal Matter
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce the charges filed against James D. Perron, 48, of Tinmouth, Vermont, for three counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. If convicted, Perron faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count. Perron was initially charged by criminal complaint.
According to the indictment, Perron claimed in text messages sent from Vermont to Florida that through a relative on the jury he could influence the outcome of the trial of State of Florida vs. John Goodman, a high profile Palm Beach County driving under the influence, manslaughter and vehicular homicide case being re-tried. The allegations are that Perron claimed that for an initial down payment of $500,000 he would obtain a hung jury for Goodman and expect to receive another $500,000 upon completion. Perron also wrote that if he got an acquittal for Goodman he would expect a final payoff of $1 million from Goodman.
Based upon information developed during the investigation, Perron did not have the ability or contacts to fulfill his claim and was trying to get half of one million dollars based upon a lie. Perron did not have any means to contact jurors nor have any relatives he controlled on the jury panel deliberating the Goodman case.
John Goodman was re-tried in Palm Beach County by a jury drawn from the Tampa area of Florida after a new trial was ordered based upon juror misconduct occurring during the initial trial. The retrial began on October 6, 2014 and concluded when the jury returned guilty verdicts on October 28, 2014 in the 15th Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County, Florida. Perron initially contacted a defense witness in the Goodman trial to make his offer to fix the outcome of the trial on October 21, 2014 and was arrested on October 26, 2014, before the verdict was returned.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and thanked Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation and assistance. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen Cohen.
An indictment and a criminal complaint are merely accusations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.