William McMahon, 47, of Norco, the CEO and co-owner of Trustin Technology, and Sean Volin, 38, of Oakland, N.J., a former manager with the Panasonic Corp. of North America, were charged Monday with "honest services" wire fraud.
Prosecutors say McMahon paid kickbacks for years to ensure contracts for his firm with the New Jersey-based Panasonic.
This is not the first troubled time for the Irvine technology company.
The former CFO of Trustin Technology Inc., Jean Joseph Ibrahim, 33, formerly of Rancho Santa Margarita, was charged in early 2012 with embezzling $16 million of the company's funds.
Ibrahim fled the country early last year, returning a short time later in February 2012 when authorities detained him.
He was in possession of 40 gold bars and $490,000 in cash, according to the federal criminal complaint.
In the the most recent case, McMahon and Volin admitted guilt and agreed to cooperate with investigators in their ongoing investigation.
Court records show, the past decade Trustin sold random access memory modules and then hard drives to Panasonic for use in at least one line of laptop computers.
Panasonic was Trustin's largest customer.
Prosecutors say that from November 2005 through the end of 2011, McMahon made payments of more than $555,000 that went to a shell corporation Volin had established to accept the illicit payments from Trustin.
In total, Volin was paid more than $664,900 by Trustin.
Volin and McMahon also admitted in the court documents that the Panasonic employee received other benefits, including trips to the Kentucky Derby and Napa Valley.
Volin claims in his plea agreement that McMahon made regular payments in exchange for him "looking out for Trustin's interests" and a reward for prior assistance to the Irvine-based company.
McMahon was able to secure tens of millions of dollars in business from Panasonic through his deal with Volin, according to prosecutor, Andrew Stolper.
The wire fraud charge alleged in the two cases filed Monday carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
McMahon and Volin will appear in federal court in Orange County in February.
The cases are the result of an ongoing investigation being conducted by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Panasonic Corp. of North America fully cooperated with the government's investigation.
email@example.com, 909-386-3925, @crimeshutterbug
This story has been updated to correct a factual error that was inserted into an earlier version. Charges of wire fraud and bribery were actually filed against a former manager of Panasonic's American subsidiary in Secaucus, N.J., not the business itself.
Panasonic cooperated fully with the Department of Justice in the investigation. We regret the error.