WASHINGTON – Four individuals were arrested today on charges that they and their company, Nexus Technologies Inc., paid bribes to various Vietnamese government officials in exchange for lucrative contracts to supply equipment and technology to Vietnamese government agencies, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich and Acting U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced.
U.S. citizens Nam Nguyen, 52, of Houston; Joseph Lukas, 59, of Smithville, N.J.; Kim Nguyen, 39, of Philadelphia; and An Nguyen, 32, of Philadelphia were arrested today after they, along with Nexus Technologies Inc., were indicted on Sept. 4, 2008, by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia on one count of conspiracy to bribe Vietnamese public officials in violation of the FCPA and four substantive counts of violating the FCPA.
According to the indictment, Nexus Technologies Inc. was a Delaware company with offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Vietnam that purchased a wide variety of equipment and technology, including underwater mapping equipment, bomb containment equipment, helicopter parts, chemical detectors, satellite communication parts and air tracking systems, for export to agencies of the government of Vietnam. The indictment alleges that from approximately 1999 through 2008, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to pay Vietnamese government officials bribes in order to secure lucrative contracts for Nexus Technologies Inc. Over the course of the scheme, the defendants are alleged to have paid at least $150,000 in bribes to foreign officials in Vietnam. The defendants’ customers in Vietnam are alleged to have included multiple Vietnamese government agencies, including the commercial branches of Vietnam’s Ministries of Transport, Industry and Public Safety.
According to the indictment, Nam Nguyen allegedly negotiated contracts and bribes with officials of Vietnamese government agencies, while Lukas negotiated with vendors in the United States. Kim and An Nguyen allegedly arranged for the transfer of funds at Nam Nguyen’s direction.
The conspiracy count charged against the individual defendants carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gain; and a three year term of supervised release. The FCPA counts charged against the individual defendants each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a fine of the greater of $100,000 or twice the gain; and a three year term of supervised release. Nexus Technologies Inc., faces a maximum $2 million fine per count, if convicted.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams and Trial Attorney Kathleen M. Hamann of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement.
An indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.