- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 9, 2015

MIAMI (AP) - A Vermont man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal fraud charge for falsely claiming that in exchange for up to $1 million he could make sure a jury did not convict a prominent Florida polo mogul on a DUI manslaughter charge.

James Perron of Tinmouth, Vermont, pleaded guilty to a single wire fraud charge in federal court Wednesday. The charge carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence and up to a $250,000 fine, although Perron will likely get a lighter sentence.

Perron, 49, admitted sending text messages to a polo player who was friends with John Goodman, founder of the International Polo Club. Goodman, heir to a heating and air conditioning fortune, was being tried last year a second time for a 2010 drunken-driving crash in Palm Beach County that killed 23-year-old Scott Wilson.

Perron falsely claimed in the messages to the player, Kris Kampsen, that a relative could sway the Goodman jury in return for $1 million for an acquittal or $500,000 for a hung jury, FBI agents said.

Kampsen contacted investigators, including a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy who began posing as Kampsen using the player’s phone.

Perron sent a text assuring that his relative “cannot guarantee acquital (sic) but can hang the jury if necessary,” according to an FBI affidavit.

Several of the texts were sent from the area around Clarendon, Vermont, according to the FBI, and later the deputy posing as Kampsen agreed to meet Perron near the airport in Albany, New York.

Perron was arrested in October 2014, in a hotel bar in Albany with a cellphone in his hand whose number matched the fraudulent texts. He has remained in custody since. The FBI says Perron had no relative with connections to the Goodman jury.

Goodman was convicted last October and is now serving a 16-year prison sentence. His first conviction in 2012 was overturned because of juror misconduct.


Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Miamicurt

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