Colombia’s Former National Director of Anti-Corruption and a Foreign Attorney Plead Guilty to Participating in a Conspiracy to Launder Money in Order to Promote Foreign Bribery
The former National Director of Anti-Corruption in Colombia and a foreign attorney pled guilty today in federal court in Miami for their participation in a conspiracy to launder money with the intent to promote foreign bribery.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and Adolphus P. Wright, Special Agent in Charge, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, made the announcement.
Luis Gustavo Moreno Rivera, 35, the former National Director of Anti-Corruption in Colombia and Leonardo Luis Pinilla Gomez, 31, an attorney practicing in Colombia, pled guilty to conspiracy to launder money in order to promote foreign bribery. The defendants entered their guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro in Miami. Moreno and Pinilla are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Ungaro on November 19, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.
According to the court docket, including the agreed upon factual proffer, beginning in November 2016, in Colombia, a cooperating source of information (CS) was approached by Moreno and Pinilla who attempted to entice a bribe from the CS. Specifically, in exchange for 100 million Colombian pesos (the equivalent of approximately $34,500 US), Moreno and Pinilla offered to give the CS copies of sworn statements taken from cooperators who had testified against the CS. In June 2017, Moreno and Pinilla traveled to Miami, Florida and met with the CS who, under the direction of the DEA, provided Moreno and Pinilla with a $10,000 deposit of the bribe money. Recorded conversations revealed that Moreno and Pinilla discussed Moreno’s ability to control the investigation into the CS and that Moreno could inundate his prosecutors with work so that they would be unable to focus on the CS’s investigation. In exchange, Moreno and Pinilla were asking for a 400 million Colombian peso payment (the equivalent of approximately $132,000 US), with an additional $30,000 to be paid prior to Moreno leaving the United States.
Several of the $100 bills, from the $10,000 paid to Moreno and Pinilla, were found on Moreno and his traveling companion as they boarded their flight back to Bogota, Colombia from Miami. Both Moreno and Pinilla were arrested in Colombia pursuant to an Interpol Red Notice.
This investigation and prosecution was carried out by members of the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force. The South Florida HIDTA, established in 1990, is made up of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies who, cooperatively, target the region’s drug-trafficking and money laundering organizations. The South Florida HIDTA is funded by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which sponsors a variety of initiatives focused on the nation’s illicit drug trafficking threats.
Mr. Greenberg commends the DEA for their investigative assistance with this case. Mr. Greenberg also thanked the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and Office of Judicial Attache in Colombia along with the DEA Bogota Country Office; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), Miami Field Office and Attache Office in Colombia; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office and Attache Office in Colombia; U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Miami Office of Field Operations; and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Legal Attache Office in Colombia, for their assistance in this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Juan Antonio Gonzalez and Lynn M. Kirkpatrick of the International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section in the Southern District of Florida are prosecuting the case.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our federal partners commend the Attorney General of Colombia and the Cuerpo Tecnico de Investigacion (CTI) for their cooperative efforts in this investigation.