Coral Springs Resident Sentenced to 51 Months for Embezzlement Scheme Against Former Employer and Submission of Fraudulent CARES Act Loan Application
The former National Director of Anti-Corruption in Colombia and an attorney from Colombia were extradited yesterday to the United States to face wire fraud and money laundering charges related to the promotion of foreign bribery.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, 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, 36, the former National Director of Anti-Corruption in Colombia and Leonardo Pinilla Gomez, 31, an attorney practicing in Colombia, were charged by superseding indictment on August 3, 2017 in the Southern District of Florida. The superseding indictment charges the defendants with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to launder money in order to promote foreign bribery, and two counts of substantive money laundering. Both Rivera and Pinilla were arrested in Colombia pursuant to an Interpol Red Notice. Pinilla was arraigned this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia M. Otazo-Reyes in Miami. Moreno is scheduled to be arraigned in Miami on May 30, 2018, before a U.S. Magistrate Judge.
According to the criminal complaint, previously filed in the case, and the superseding indictment, beginning in November 2016, 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, 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 with an additional $30,000 to be paid prior to Moreno leaving the United States.
The criminal complaint further alleges that several of the $100 bills from the $10,000 paid to Moreno and Pinilla were found on Moreno and his family as they boarded their flight back to Bogota from Miami.
An indictment and a criminal complaint merely contain allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison, per count of conviction.
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 Attaché in Colombia along with the DEA Bogota Country Office; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), Miami Field Office and Attaché Office in Colombia; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office and Attaché Office in Colombia; U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Miami Office of Field Operations; and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Legal Attaché 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 this 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.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.