WASHINGTON - The former controller of a Miami-Dade County, Fla., telecommunications company was sentenced to 24 months in prison for his participation in a conspiracy to pay and conceal bribes to former Haitian government officials, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; and Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Miami Field Office.
Antonio Perez, 52, of Miami was also ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Jose E. Martinez to serve two years of supervised release following his prison term, and to forfeit $36,375. Perez pleaded guilty on April 27, 2009, to conspiring to making corrupt payments for a Miami-Dade County telecommunications company to officials of the Republic of Haiti’s state-owned national telecommunications company, Telecommunications D’Haiti, in violation of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and money laundering laws.
In his guilty plea, Perez admitted to conspiring to make corrupt payments to foreign government officials for the purpose of securing business advantages for the telecommunications company from Telecommunications D’Haiti. According to court documents, Perez conspired with Robert Antoine, the former director of international relations for Telecommunications D’Haiti and Juan Diaz, the owner of J.D. Locator Services, along with others. Perez and his co-conspirators concealed the bribe payments in part by conducting financial transactions that involved wiring money to shell companies and mislabeling invoices, checks and ledgers. Perez admitted that he was personally involved with two bribe payments totaling approximately $36,375.
On July 30, 2010, Diaz was sentenced to 57 months in prison after pleading guilty to paying and concealing $1,028,851 in bribes to former Haitian government officials while serving as an intermediary for three private telecommunications companies. Antoine admitted his acceptance of bribes, including bribes from Diaz, and pleaded guilty on March 12, 2010, to money laundering conspiracy. Antoine was sentenced to four years in prison.
Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez, the owners of the telecommunications company where Perez worked, as well as Jean Rene Duperval, who was director of international relations for Telecommunications D’Haiti from June 2003 to April 2004, and Duperval’s sister, Marguerite Grandison, were indicted along with Antoine, on Dec. 4, 2009. Trial for these remaining defendants is scheduled to begin Feb. 28, 2011, in U.S. District Court in Miami. An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Department of Justice is grateful to the government of Haiti for providing substantial assistance in gathering evidence during this investigation. In particular, Haiti’s financial intelligence unit, the Unité Centrale de Renseignements Financiers, the Bureau des Affaires Financières et Economiques, which is a specialized component of the Haitian National Police, and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security provided significant cooperation and coordination in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aurora Fagan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, Senior Trial Attorney Nicola J. Mrazek of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Trial Attorney Kevin Gerrity of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided assistance in this matter. The case was investigated by the IRS-CI Miami Field Office.