Florida Businessman Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering in Foreign Bribery Scheme
The president of a Miami-Dade County, Fla.,-based company pleaded guilty today to engaging in monetary transactions involving property derived from a scheme to bribe former Haitian government officials, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Sloman 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.
According to the criminal information filed on Feb. 1, 2010, Jean Fourcand, 62, of Miami, was the president and director of Fourcand Enterprises Inc. In pleading guilty, Fourcand admitted that he received funds between November 2001 and August 2002 originating from U.S. telecommunications companies for the benefit of an official of the Republic of Haiti’s state-owned national telecommunications company, Telecommunications D’Haiti (Haiti Teleco). Fourcand admitted during his guilty plea that some of these funds were received from an intermediary company, J.D. Locator Services Inc. Juan Diaz, the president of J.D. Locator, pleaded guilty on May 15, 2009, to conspiracy to commit violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and money laundering. Fourcand also admitted that Robert Antoine, the former director of international relations at Haiti Teleco, was the recipient of the bribes.
According to court documents, various U.S. telecommunications companies sent money to Diaz who would then disperse the funds by issuing J.D. Locator checks made payable to Fourcand Enterprises. For example, Fourcand admitted that he received a check for $18,500 on Feb. 20, 2002, drawn on J.D. Locator Service’s bank account, which he deposited into an account in the name of Fourcand Enterprises. This check contained a false invoice number to make the payment appear to be for legitimate services when in fact the money was intended for Antoine. Fourcand admitted that he used these funds to engage in a real estate transaction that benefited Antoine.
The charged crime carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction. Fourcand also agreed to forfeit $18,500 as part of his guilty plea.
Antoine was indicted on Dec. 4, 2009, for money laundering conspiracy and later arrested and expelled from Haiti to face the U.S. charges. Also charged on Dec. 4, 2009, for their alleged roles in the scheme were Joel Esquenazi, the former president, and Carlos Rodriguez, the former executive vice president of a U.S. telecommunications company, as well as Jean Rene Duperval, a former official at Haiti Teleco, and Duperval’s sister, Marguerite Grandison.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
On April 27, 2009, Antonio Perez, the former controller of a U.S. telecommunications company, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit FCPA violations and money laundering for his role in the payment of bribes to former officials of Haiti Teleco.
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 (UCREF), the Bureau des Affaires Financières et Economiques (BAFE), which is a specialized component of the Haitian National Police, and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security provided significant cooperation and coordination in this ongoing investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Kevin Gerrity of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, Trial Attorney Nicola J. Mrazek of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Aurora Fagan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. 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.