VENEZUELA NATIONAL (Luis Alberto Chacin Haddad) LIVING IN MIAMI (Florida, USA) SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 4 YEARS IN USA PRISON + $5.5M FORFEITURE for bribing Venezuela government officials
|Luis Alberto Chacin Haddad|
A Miami-based businessman who pleaded guilty to a single FCPA conspiracy count was sentenced Wednesday to 51 months in federal prison.
Luis Alberto Chacin Haddad, 54, bribed officials at Venezuela’s state-owned electricity company, Corpoelec, in exchange for $60 million in contracts for Florida-based businesses he owned with a co-conspirator.
He had asked the judge to sentence him to “at most” 18 months, in light of various personal characteristics and the circumstances of his crime.
The maximum sentence for conspiracy to violate the FCPA is 60 months.
The government opposed any downward departure from the maximum sentence for Chacin.
Prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum that although he’s a “decent, devoted family man,” he participated in “a multi-year scheme to pay bribes to foreign officials.”
According to the DOJ,
The nature and circumstances of the offense were serious: the scheme involved high-ranking officials in Venezuela (one of whom was a Minister); the recipients of the corrupt contracts were U.S. companies; proceeds from those contracts were transferred to and between bank accounts in the United States, thereby tainting the U.S. financial system; at least one kickback payment was made from a U.S. bank account; and the defendant and his co-defendant each profited $5.5 million from the scheme.
The DOJ said the bribery conspiracy lasted three years and involved “multiple contracts and multiple kickbacks.”
“The defendant notes that the contracts in question were not ‘sham contracts,'” prosecutors said, “but they were still lucrative enough to earn him and [a co-conspirator] a total profit of $11 million.”
As part of his plea deal in June, Chacin agreed to forfeit $5.5 million.
Chacin said his acceptance of responsibility was “extraordinary.” But the DOJ said he only admitted involvement in the bribery and pleaded guilty after he was arrested on a criminal complaint
Chacin and his co-conspirator lost the first bid they made to Corpoelec. Instead of walking away then, Chacin “knowingly engaged in a scheme to win Corpoelec contracts through bribery,” the DOJ said.
Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga (the first Cuban-American woman appointed as a U.S. federal judge) sentenced Chacin to 51 months in prison and two years of supervised release.
At the end of the 30-minute sentencing hearing Wednesday, Judge Altonaga ordered Chacin to surrender to the U.S. Marshals.
BACKGROUND: 2 Former Venezuelan Officials Charged and 2 Businessmen Plead Guilty in Connection with Venezuela Bribery Scheme
A former Venezuelan government minister and a former officer at Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled electricity company, Corporación Eléctrica Nacional, S.A. (Corpoelec), were charged in an indictment returned today for their alleged roles in laundering the proceeds of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with their alleged receipt of bribes to award Corpoelec business to U.S.-based companies. Today’s indictment follows the guilty pleas of two businessmen, earlier this week, for conspiring to violate the FCPA in connection with the corrupt payment scheme at Corpoelec.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Adolphus P. Wright of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Miami Field Division (DEA Miami) made the announcement.
Luis Alfredo Motta Dominguez (Motta), 60, and Eustiquio Jose Lugo Gomez (Lugo), 55, both of Venezuela, were charged in an eight-count indictment returned today in the Southern District of Florida with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and seven counts of money laundering. Until recently, Motta was the minister of electrical energy in Venezuela and the head of Corpoelec; Lugo was the procurement director at Corpoelec.
The indictment alleges that beginning in or around January 2016 and continuing through December 2018, Motta and Lugo conspired with others to launder the proceeds of an illegal bribery scheme to and from bank accounts located in southern Florida. According to the indictment, Motta and Lugo awarded three Florida-based companies more than $60 million in procurement contracts with Corpoelec in exchange for bribes paid to them or for their benefit. The indictment further alleges that the unlawful activity was a bribery scheme that violated the FCPA and involved bribery offenses against Venezuela. According to the charges, a substantial portion of the proceeds from the corrupt contracts was laundered through U.S. financial institutions using bank accounts located in the Southern District of Florida.
An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
On June 24, 2019, Jesus Ramon Veroes (Veroes), 69, of Venezuela, and Luis Alberto Chacin Haddad (Chacin), 54, of Miami, Florida, each pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga of the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy to violate various provisions of the FCPA. Veroes and Chacin are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Altonaga on Sept. 4, 2019.
According to admissions made in connection with their guilty pleas, Veroes and Chacin agreed with each other and with other co-conspirators to make corrupt payments to foreign officials at Corpoelec in exchange for the award of procurement contracts to Florida-based companies. Under the terms of their plea agreements, Veroes and Chacin will each be required to forfeit at least $5.5 million in profits from the corruptly obtained contracts, as well as real property in the Miami area.
This case was investigated by DEA Miami with assistance from the IRS Criminal Investigations Miami Field Office and the FBI’s Miami Field Office. Trial Attorney John-Alex Romano of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, Trial Attorney Joseph Palazzo of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael B. Nadler of the Southern District of Florida are prosecuting the case.
The Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all FCPA matters. Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.
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