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U.S. v. Jefferson

 
:
Jefferson, William J.
:
DOJ Criminal
:
June 4, 2007
:
U.S. v. Jefferson
:
U.S. v. Jefferson, No. 1:07−cr−00209−TSE (E.D. Va. 2007)
:
This is the first case in which a U.S. government official, a sitting U.S. Congressman, was charged with FCPA bribery of a foreign official. The matter involved extensive litigation pre-trial over the legality of seizure of documents from Jefferson's office under seperation of powers principles and the speech and debate clause of the US Constitution. Ultimately a jury convicted Jefferson of a multi-object conspiracy but acquitted him of the substantive FCPA count.
:
Telecommunications-Other/Multi
:
Nigeria
:
2005
:
High-ranking official in the executive branch of the Nigerian government as well as lower-ranking Nigerian government officials.
:
William J. Jefferson was prosecuted for violating the FCPA and other related crimes in connection with allegedly promising to pay a high-ranking Nigerian official $500,000 and a share of the profits from a contract to develop telecommunications and Internet services in Nigeria.

Jefferson was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991-2009, during which time he served as a member of the Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Trade, Committee on Budget, Africa Trade and Investment Caucus (co-chair), and the Congressional Caucus on Nigeria (co-chair).

According to a 16-count indictment, Jefferson sought to facilitate a contract between the Nigerian government and two Nigerian companies (the "Joint Venture") to use an American company's technology to pursue telecommunications and Internet opportunities in Nigeria. One of the Joint Venture's Nigerian companies was an Internet Service Provider ("Nigerian ISP"). The Joint Venture hoped to use iGate Corp.'s "Triple Play" technology, which allowed audio, video, and data transmission over copper wire, in Nigeria.

In April 2005, Jefferson discussed paying a person designated by a high-ranking Nigerian official in the executive branch of the Nigerian government a percentage of the Joint Venture in return for the official arranging access to Nigerian telephone lines. In May 2005, the CEO of the Nigerian ISP arranged this access himself, but a week later Jefferson allegedly sought to increase his proceeds from the Joint Venture for the purposes of bribing Nigerian officials.

On June 7, Jefferson met with the high-ranking Nigerian official's wife and broached the subject of a bribe. On June 21, Jefferson sent a letter on congressional letterhead to the high-ranking Nigerian official requesting that the official intervene with the government-owned Nigerian telecommunications agency ("NITEL") so that the Joint Venture could store its equipment at NITEL facilities and use NITEL telephone lines. On July 18, 2005, Jefferson met with the high-ranking Nigerian official and offered to pay a bribe to use his position to further the Joint Venture.

Jefferson later told an associate that the Nigerian official accepted the offer. The bribe would consist of a "front-end" payment of $500,000 to the official and a back-end payment of at least half of the Nigerian ISP's share of the Joint Venture's profits. Jefferson then obtained $100,000 cash, $90,000 of which he put in his freezer awaiting delivery to the Nigerian official as an upfront payment of the $500,000 bribe. U.S. officials seized the $90,000 during a search of Jefferson's home.

On August 5, 2009 a jury convicted Jefferson of 11 of the 16 charges against him, including conspiracy to solicit bribes, engage in wire fraud, and violate the FCPA as well as the substantive crimes of soliciting bribes, wire fraud, and money laundering and RICO violations. Jefferson was acquitted of the substantive FCPA count.

After the trial judge denied Jefferson's motion for a new trial and motion for acquittal, Jefferson filed a notice of appeal for all of the counts of which he was convicted. His conviction was affirmed on March 26, 2012.
:
Conspiracy - Anti-Bribery
:
Conspiracy - Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, RICO, Wire Fraud
:
Cease and Desist, Conviction, Imprisonment
:
The district court ordered Jefferson to forfeit various assets to satisfy a judgment of $470,653 representing his proceeds from the violations of which he was convicted.
:
470,653
:
60
:
Jefferson also received concurrent sentences for the non-FCPA related convictions, the longest of which is 156 months plus 3 months supervised release for the substantive crimes of soliciting bribes and wire fraud and for a RICO count.

The government argued in its sentencing memorandum that Jefferson should be sentenced within the Sentencing Guideline range, calculated by the probation office to be:
Level 41 (Criminal History I)
Guideline Range 324-405 months

Jefferson is released on bond pending his appeal of his convictions, subject to 24/7 GPS monitoring.
:
Agent of Domestic Concern, Domestic Concern
:
U.S.
:
Contract Procurement/Retention
:
Not stated.
:
Cash, Wire/check
:
Direct
:
500,000
:
Nigeria
:
United States
:
No