Florida Businessman Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison for Role in Foreign Bribery Scheme
WASHINGTON – A Miami businessman was sentenced today to 57 months in prison for his participation in a conspiracy to pay bribes to former officials of the Republic of Haiti, 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.
Juan Diaz, 52, was also ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Jose E. Martinez to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term. Judge Martinez ordered Diaz to pay $73,824 in restitution and to forfeit $1,028,851. Diaz pleaded guilty on May 15, 2009, to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and money laundering.
In his plea, Diaz admitted to conspiring to make corrupt payments to foreign government officials for the purpose of securing business advantages for three different Miami-Dade County telecommunications companies from the Republic of Haiti’s state-owned national telecommunications company, Telecommunications D’Haiti. Diaz concealed these payments in part by laundering the funds through his company, J.D. Locator Services. According to court documents, Diaz paid and concealed $1,028,851 in bribes to former Haitian government officials while serving as an intermediary for the three private telecommunications companies. One of these officials, Robert 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.
A portion of the J.D. Locator funds was also laundered by Jean Fourcand of Fourcand Enterprises, who pleaded guilty on Feb. 19, 2010, to money laundering, and was sentenced to six months in prison for his involvement in the scheme. Antonio Perez was, at times, the controller of one of the Miami-Dade County telecommunications companies. Perez pleaded guilty on April 27, 2009, to conspiring to commit FCPA violations and money laundering and is awaiting sentencing.
Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez, the owners of one of the Miami-Dade County telecommunications companies; Jean Rene Duperval, who was director of international relations of Haiti Teleco 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 Dec. 6, 2010, 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 this ongoing investigation.
The case was 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.