Film Executive and Spouse Found Guilty of Paying Bribes to a Senior Thai Tourism Official to Obtain Lucrative Contracts
Gerald Green and Patricia Green, Los Angeles-area film executives, were found guilty late last Friday of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and money laundering laws of the United States, as well as substantive violations of the FCPA and U.S. money laundering laws in relation to a sophisticated bribery scheme that enabled the defendants to obtain a series of Thai government contracts, including valuable contracts to manage and operate Thailand’s yearly film festival.
Patricia Green was also found guilty of falsely subscribing U.S. income tax returns in connection with this scheme. The Greens were found guilty by a federal jury in the Central District of California on Friday, Sept. 11, 2009, after a two-and-a-half week trial.
"As these convictions demonstrate, the Department of Justice will not waiver in its fight against corruption, whether perpetrated within our borders or abroad," said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. "The FCPA is a powerful tool that the Department will continue to use in an effort to stop individuals like the Greens who seek to further their own business interests through bribes paid to foreign officials."
Gerald Green, 77, and Patricia Green, 52, both of West Hollywood, Calif., were charged on March 11, 2009, in a second superseding indictment with paying kickbacks to the former governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in exchange for receiving contracts to manage and operate Thailand’s yearly "Bangkok International Film Festival," as well as contracts to provide an elite tourism "privilege card" marketed to wealthy foreigners.
Specifically, according to the superseding indictment, the Greens paid approximately $1.8 million in bribes to the former governor through numerous bank accounts in Singapore, the United Kingdom and the Isle of Jersey in the name of the former governor’s daughter and a friend of the former governor. The contracts received by the Greens resulted in more than $13.5 million in revenue to businesses they owned.
The Greens were charged in count one of the second superseding indictment with conspiracy to violate the FCPA and money laundering laws of the United States. Counts two through 10 charged the defendants with individual acts in violation of the FCPA. Counts 11 through 17 charged the defendants with individual acts in violation of money laundering laws of the United States. Count 19 charged defendant Gerald Green with obstruction of justice and counts 20 and 21 charged Patricia Green with falsely subscribing a U.S. Income Tax Return, commonly known as Form 1120, knowing that the false and overstated figure included the bribes to the former governor, described as "commissions."
The U.S. dismissed count 18 of the superseding indictment, a substantive money laundering count, prior to the case going to the jury. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on count 19, the obstruction of justice count against Gerald Green.
Evidence introduced at trial showed that beginning in 2002 and continuing into 2007, the Greens conspired with others to bribe the former governor of the TAT in order to get the lucrative film festival contracts as well as other TAT contracts. As a result of the then governor’s position at the TAT, the former governor was able to influence the awarding of these contracts.
Trial evidence also showed that in furtherance of the conspiracy, the Greens used different business entities, some with dummy business addresses and telephone numbers, in their dealings with the TAT in order to hide the large amount of money the Greens were being paid under the contracts. Moreover, the trial evidence showed that the Greens disguised the bribes as "sales commission" payments and made the payments for the benefit of the former governor through the foreign bank accounts of intermediaries, including bank accounts in the name of the former governor’s daughter and friend.
The conspiracy and FCPA charges each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and each of the money laundering counts carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison. The false subscription of a U.S. income tax return carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of not more than $100,000. Sentencing has been set for Dec. 17, 2009, before the Honorable George Wu in the Central District of California.
This case was prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Jonathan E. Lopez of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Searby of the Central District of California, with significant assistance from Fraud Section contract Attorney Allan J. Medina. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office and the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division, Los Angeles Field Office. Substantial assistance was also provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, in particular Christopher P. Sonderby, the Department of Justice Attaché and Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinator – Asia; FBI Legal Attaché Daniel Kelly in Bangkok; and Fraud Section Paralegal Oneika Duncan.