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U.S. v. Washington Vasconez Cruz, Cecilia Zurita, Amadeus Richers, Cinergy Telecommunications, Inc., Patrick Joseph, Jean Rene Duperval, and Marguerite Grandison

 
:
Zurita, Cecilia
:
DOJ Criminal
:
January 20, 2012
:
U.S. v. Washington Vasconez Cruz, Cecilia Zurita, Amadeus Richers, Cinergy Telecommunications, Inc., Patrick Joseph, Jean Rene Duperval, and Marguerite Grandison
:
U.S. v. Cruz, et al., No. 1:09-cr-21010 (S.D. Fla. 2012)
:
Both sides of the alleged bribe, the offerors and the government officials, were charged using different statutes.
:
Telecommunications-Other/Multi
:
Haiti
:
2001; 2002; 2003; 2004; 2005; 2006
:
Officials at Telecommunications d'Haiti.
:
According to the second superseding indictment filed on January 19, 2012, the defendants allegedly participated in a scheme to commit foreign bribery and money laundering from December 2001 through January 2006. The indictment alleges that during this time period Cinergy and its related company, Uniplex Telecommunications Inc., allegedly paid more than $1.4 million to shell companies to be used for bribes to foreign officials of the Republic of Haiti’s state-owned national telecommunications company, Telecommunications D’Haiti (Haiti Teleco).

According to court documents, Cinergy and Uniplex executed a series of contracts with Haiti Teleco that allowed the companies’ customers to place telephone calls to Haiti. The bribe payments allegedly were authorized by Washington Vasconez Cruz (the telecommunications companies’ president), Amadeus Richers (the companies’ director), and Cecilia Zurita (the companies' vice president), and were allegedly paid to Haitian government officials at Haiti Teleco, including Patrick Joseph and Jean Rene Duperval. According to the superseding indictment, the purpose of these bribes was to obtain various business advantages from the Haitian officials for Cinergy and Uniplex, including preferred telecommunications rates and credits toward sums owed. To conceal the bribe payments, the defendants allegedly used various shell companies to receive and forward the payments, including J.D. Locator Services, Fourcand Enterprises and Telecom Consulting Services.

In the second superseding indictment, Cruz, Zurita, Richers, and Cinergy were charged with conspiracy to violate the FCPA and substantive violations of the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA; Cruz, Zurita, Richers, Cinergy, Joseph, Duperval, and Grandison were charged with money laundering conspiracy; and Cruz, Zurita, Richers, Cinergy, Duperval and Grandison were charged with substantive money laundering.

After a 2.5 week trial, Esquenazi and Rodriguez were both convicted on August 5, 2011. On October 25, 2011, Esquenazi was sentenced to 15 years in prison, the longest sentence ever imposed in a case involving violations of the FCPA. Rodriguez was sentenced to 84 months. The defendants were also ordered to forfeit $3.09 million.

On February 8, 2012, Patrick Joseph pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. In his plea agreement, Joseph agreed to pay a forfeiture of $955,596.69. Joseph was sentenced on July 9, 2012.

On February 24, 2012, the claims against Cinergy were dismissed, because the government discovered that "it is a non-operational entity that effectively exists only on paper for the benefit of two fugitive defendants."

Duperval's trial began on March 1, 2012. On March 12, 2012, the jury convicted Duperval on all counts. On May 21, 2012, Duperval was sentenced to 9 years in prison. His appeal is pending. The case against Grandison was closed after she agreed to enter into an 18-month diversion program.

Zurita is a former vice president of Cinergy Telecommunications Inc. and wife of Washington Vasconez Cruz, Cinergy’s president and a co-defendant. Zurita allegedly wrote checks to shell companies and intermediaries who use the funds to bribe Haiti Teleco officials in Haiti. Zurita allegedly concealed the purpose of these payments. Zurita is a fugitive.


:
Anti-bribery (Domestic Concern), Conspiracy - Anti-Bribery
:
Conspiracy - Money Laundering, Money Laundering
:
Fugitive
:
Not stated.
:
0
:
Agent of Domestic Concern, Domestic Concern, Employee of Domestic Concern, Officer of Domestic Concern
:
Other Senior Officer
:
U.S.
:
Contract Procurement/Retention, Other Business Advantage
:
Not stated.
:
Cash, Wire/check
:
Customs Broker or Agent/Consultant, Shell entity
:
Not stated.
:
Haiti
:
United States
:
No
:
No