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Multiple Executives Face Charges for Bribing Government Officials

On July 13, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice announced superseding indictments against five individuals and a Florida-based corporation for government bribery offenses under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), as well as federal wire fraud and money laundering statutes.

Serious Criminal Charges

Washington Cruz, the president of Cinergy Telecommunications and its related company Uniplex Telecommunications, Amadeus Richers, the former director of Cinergy and Uniplex, as well as Cinergy Telecommunications, Inc. itself are each charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. They are each also charged with six counts of FCPA violations and 19 counts of money laundering.

Patrick Joseph, a former executive at Haiti-based telecommunications company Haiti Teleco, is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. Another former Haiti Teleco executive, Jean Rene Duperval, and his sister, Marguerite Grandison, the former president of Telecom Consulting Services Corp., each face 19 counts ofmoney laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The government alleges that between December 2001 and January 2006, Cruz and Richers, through the Cinergy and Uniplex corporations, used shell companies to bribe Joseph and Duperval, officials at Haiti's state-owned Haiti Teleco, with over $1.4 million. The theory is that in return, Cinergy, Uniplex and their customers received preferred telecommunications rates and credits toward sums owed.

Serious Penalties

Convictions on any of these charges involve significant fines and prison time. The following list sets out the possible penalties:

  • Conspiracy to violate the FCPA and wire fraud charges: no more than five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the value gained or lost (which ever is higher)
  • Completed FCPA violations: maximum prison term of five years and a fine of $100,000 or twice the value gained or lost (which ever is higher)
  • Money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering charges: no more than 20 years in prison for each count and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property in the transaction (whichever is higher)

Because of the high financial and criminal penalties involved in wire fraud and money laundering, it is crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side. If you or a loved one has been charged with any of these crimes, contact an attorney immediately to discuss your situation and your options.

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