WASHINGTON – Alberto Goachet, 67, a political consultant and aide to Puerto Rico Sen. Jorge De Castro Font, pleaded guilty today to participating in a conspiracy to launder illegal campaign contributions and other payments, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez announced.
Goachet pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Francisco Augusto Besosa in the District of Puerto Rico to a one-count information that charged him with conspiring with De Castro Font and others to launder cash provided by a Puerto Rico businessman to De Castro Font. As part of the plea agreement, Goachet admitted that he and others laundered the money through the use of fake invoices purporting to reflect legitimate payments to a political consulting firm owned by Goachet. Goachet also admitted in the agreement that the false invoices were meant to conceal the businessman’s illegal payments to De Castro Font.
Goachet further admitted that in August 2008 he was asked by the FBI about the money laundering scheme, and during that interview he falsely claimed that the invoices were legitimately written for services rendered to the businessman and denied that the money was intended for De Castro Font. Goachet admitted he in fact knew the invoices were fraudulent and the money was intended for De Castro Font.
De Castro Font was indicted in October 2008 for a series of wide-ranging schemes in which he allegedly received approximately $500,000 to $525,000 in cash and payments through bribery and extortion. The indictment alleges that De Castro Font concealed the payments from the various schemes either by not disclosing them at all or by falsely disclosing them on required ethics or campaign disclosure forms or in his Puerto Rico tax filings.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law. De Castro Font’s trial is set for Jan. 12, 2009, in the District of Puerto Rico.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacqueline Novas and Timothy R. Henwood of the District of Puerto Rico, as well as Trial Attorney Matthew L. Stennes of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s San Juan Field Office.