Businessman Indicted for Conspiring to Bribe Senior Officials of the Republic of Haiti
BOSTON – A businessman was charged in a superseding indictment filed yesterday in federal court in Boston for conspiring to bribe senior officials of the Republic of Haiti, and to launder funds for that purpose, in connection with a planned $84 million port development project in that country.
Roger Richard Boncy, 74, a dual U.S. and Haitian citizen who resides in Madrid, Spain, was charged in a superseding indictment with one count each of conspiracy to violate the Travel Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, one count of violating the Travel Act, and one count of money laundering conspiracy. In October 2017, Boncy’s co-conspirator, Dr. Joseph Baptiste of Fulton, Md., was originally charged by indictment in this case, and is scheduled to stand trial on Dec. 3, 2018, in federal court in Boston.
According to the indictment, Boncy and Baptiste solicited bribes from undercover agents in Boston who posed as potential investors in infrastructure projects in Haiti, in connection with a proposed project to develop a port in the Mole-Saint-Nicolas area of Haiti. The proposed project was expected to cost approximately $84 million and was to involve the construction of multiple cement factories, a shipping-vessel recycling station, an international transshipment station with numerous slips for shipping vessels, a power plant, a petroleum depot and tourist facilities. During a recorded meeting at a Boston-area hotel, Boncy and Baptiste allegedly told the agents that they would funnel the payments to Haitian officials through a non-profit entity that Baptiste controls – which is based in Maryland and purports to help impoverished residents of Haiti – in order to secure government approval of the project.
The charges of conspiracy to violate the Travel Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act provide for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. The charges of violating the Travel Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act provide for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. The charge of money laundering conspiracy provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling of the District of Massachusetts; Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Office, and Assistant Director Christopher Hacker of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kriss Basil of Lelling’s Securities and Financial Fraud Unit and Trial Attorney Elina A. Rubin-Smith of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.
The charges contained in the charging document are accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.