Former Nexus Technologies Inc. Employees and Partner Sentenced for Roles in Foreign Bribery Scheme Involving Vietnamese Officials
Company Ordered to Turn Over Assets to Court, Cease All Operations
WASHINGTON – Three former employees and a partner of Nexus Technologies Inc. (Nexus), a Philadelphia-based company, were sentenced late yesterday for their roles in a conspiracy to bribe officials of the Vietnamese government in exchange for lucrative contracts to supply equipment and technology to Vietnamese government agencies, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The president and owner of the company, Nam Nguyen, was sentenced to 16 months in prison and ordered to serve two years of supervised release following the prison term. His sibling, An Nguyen, was sentenced to nine months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. His other sibling, Kim Nguyen, was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine. Joseph Lukas, a former partner with Nexus, also was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
Nexus; Nam Nguyen, 54, of Houston and Vietnam; Kim Nguyen, 41, of Philadelphia; and An Nguyen, 34, of Philadelphia, were charged in a superseding indictment on Oct. 30, 2009, with conspiracy, violations of the FCPA, violations of the Travel Act in connection with commercial bribes, and money laundering. Nexus pleaded guilty on March 16, 2010, to all the charges filed against the company in the superseding indictment, and agreed to cease operations and dissolve.
Nam and An Nguyen pleaded guilty on March 16, 2010, to conspiracy, substantive FCPA violations, violating the Travel Act and money laundering. Kim Nguyen pleaded guilty on March 16, 2010, to conspiracy, substantive FCPA violations and money laundering. Lukas pleaded guilty on June 29, 2009, to conspiracy and to violating the FCPA.
According to court documents, Nexus was a privately-owned export company that identified U.S. vendors for contracts opened for bid by the Vietnamese government and other companies operating in Vietnam to purchase 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. Nam Nguyen negotiated the contracts and bribes with the Vietnamese government agencies and employees. Kim Nguyen, vice president of the company, oversaw the U.S. operations and handled finances. An Nguyen identified U.S. vendors to supply the goods needed to fulfill the contracts.
In connection with the guilty pleas, Nexus and the Nguyens admitted that from 1999 to 2008 they agreed to pay, and knowingly paid, bribes to Vietnamese government officials in exchange for contracts with the agencies and companies for which the bribe recipients worked. The bribes were falsely described as "commissions" in the company’s records. In pleading guilty, the corporation, Nexus, also acknowledged that it operated primarily through criminal means and agreed to cease operations.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Kathleen M Hamann of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia, Newark, N.J., and Houston field offices of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement.
The Justice Department acknowledges and expresses its appreciation for the assistance provided by the authorities of the Independent Commission Against Corruption of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.