U.S. v. Jorge Granados and Manuel Caceres, No. 10-20881 (S.D. Fla. 2010)
Latin Node, Inc.; Caceres, Manual; Salvoch, Manuel
Officials at Hondutel, the Honduran state-owned telecommunications company.
Jorge Granados was the Chief Executive Officer of Latin Node Inc. ("LatiNode"), a company that provided international telecommunications services using Voice over Internet Protocol technology. During 2006 and 2007, Granados allegedly conspired to pay more than $500,000 in bribes on behalf of LatiNode to officials of Hondutel, the Honduran state-owned telecommunications company, in exchange for preferred telecommunication rates and continued operation in Honduras.
On December 14, 2010, the DOJ filed a nineteen-count indictment against Granados, alleging criminal conspiracy, money laundering, and numerous violations of the FCPA. Granados and other conspirators allegedly discussed paying bribes to three foreign officials, promised bribes to the officials, received payment instructions, and made or ordered others to make payments by check, cash, and wire transfers. Some bribes were allegedly routed through a Guatemalan subsidiary.
Granados was arrested on December 20, 2010 in Miami and made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The conspiracy and FCPA counts carry potential sentences of up to five years in prison, while the money laundering charges carry potential penalties of up to 20 years. The government is also seeking forfeiture of any proceeds of the bribery. A trial date was set for September 26, 2011.
However, on May 19, 2011, Granados pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay bribes to government officials in Honduras. On August 15, 2011, Granados' lawyers also filed Objections to the pre-sentence investigations report. Granados argues that he was not a leader or organizer with respect to the charged conspiracy and that the improper payments were initiated by Mr. Caceres and Hondutel, not Granados. Granados claims that he did little more than provide his approval for the commission of the offense, but did not plan or organize the offense. The sentencing was scheduled for August 22, 2011, but Granados' lawyers filed a motion to delay it by two weeks. On September 8, 2011, Granados was sentenced to 46 months in prison.
The three other LatiNode executives, Manuel Salvoch, Juan Pablo Vasquez, and Manuel Caceres, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA on Jan. 12, 2011, and Jan. 21, 2011, and May 18, 2011 respectively.
On April 19, 2012, Caceres was sentenced to 23 months in prison; on April 25, 2012 Vasquez was sentenced to 3 years probation and a $7,500 fine; and on June 5, 2012, Salvoch was sentenced to 10 months in prison and 3 years supervised release.
LatiNode was a privately held U.S. corporation until eLandia International, Inc. acquired it in 2007.