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Press Release

Former Finance Director Charged for Role in $10M Foreign Bribery Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida

MIAMI – A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging a former finance director of the Latin America division of Stericycle Inc., an international waste management company headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois, for his role in an alleged scheme to pay over $10 million in bribes to foreign officials in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina.

According to court documents, between 2011 and 2016, Abraham Cigarroa Cervantes, 51, of Mexico, and others allegedly caused hundreds of bribe payments to be made to government officials in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina to obtain and retain business and to secure improper advantages for Stericycle, a U.S. securities issuer, in connection with providing waste management services. As part of the scheme, employees at Stericycle’s offices in Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina allegedly made bribe payments, typically in cash, and calculated the amount of the bribes as a percentage of underlying contract payments made by or owing from a government customer. In all three countries, Cigarroa and his co-conspirators allegedly tracked the bribe payments through spreadsheets and described the bribes through code words and euphemisms. To conceal the corrupt payments, Cigarroa and others allegedly maintained false books, records, and accounts that did not accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of Stericycle’s assets, causing Stericycle to falsely record bribe payments as legitimate expenses in its consolidated books, records, and accounts. Cigarroa also allegedly submitted and maintained falsified Sarbanes-Oxley certifications and business unit representation letters falsely attesting that the books, records, and accounts were accurate.

Cigarroa is charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’s (FCPA) anti-bribery provisions and one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s books and records provisions. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each count.

In April 2022, Stericycle admitted to bribing officials in Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina in violation of the FCPA’s anti-bribery and books and records provisions. Stericycle entered into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement with the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and agreed to pay more than $84 million as part of a coordinated resolution with the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and authorities in Brazil.

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida; Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Assistant Director in Charge James Smith of the FBI New York Field Office made the announcement.

The FBI New York Field Office is investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Manolo Reboso and Trial Attorneys Paul A. Hayden and Jil Simon of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and authorities in Brazil and Mexico provided assistance in the matter.

The Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting FCPA matters. Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or at



Public Affairs Unit

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Southern District of Florida

Updated March 19, 2024

Financial Fraud
Foreign Corruption