Intermediary in Haiti Teleco FCPA Case Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

By Christopher M. Matthews | February 19, 2010

Jean Fourcand pleaded guilty Friday to laundering money between U.S. telecommunications companies and former Haitian government officials, the Justice Department said.

Fourcand, the president of Miami-based Fourcand Enterprises Inc., admitted to channeling bribes between the U.S. companies and officials in Haiti’s state owned telecommunications company, Haiti Teleco, according to a DOJ news release. While the release did not name the American businesses, Telecom Consulting Services Corp. is known to be one of the companies.

In December, the Justice Department unsealed the indictments of five individuals involved with the bribery scheme.

Americans Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez, executives at a Florida telecommunications company, and Marguerite Grandison, the former president of Telecom Consulting Services Corp., were charged with seven counts of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations, as well as wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.

Two former directors of international relations at Haiti Teleco, Jean Rene Duperval and Robert Antoine, also were charged in the indictments. Duperval, who is Grandison’s brother, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 12 counts of money laundering. Antoine was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

In May of last year, Juan Diaz, the president of J.D. Locator, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA and money laundering in relation to the scheme.

In the scheme, Diaz and Fourcand served as intermediaries, shuttling the bribes between the Americans — Esquenazi and Rodriguez — and the Haitian officials — Duperval and Antoine.

From the release:

According to court documents, various U.S. telecommunications companies sent money to Diaz who would then disperse the funds by issuing J.D. Locator checks made payable to Fourcand Enterprises. For example, Fourcand admitted that he received a check for $18,500 on Feb. 20, 2002, drawn on J.D. Locator Service’s bank account, which he deposited into an account in the name of Fourcand Enterprises. This check contained a false invoice number to make the payment appear to be for legitimate services when in fact the money was intended for Antoine. Fourcand admitted that he used these funds to engage in a real estate transaction that benefited Antoine.

Fourcand faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine that is the greater of $250,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transactions. The news release said Fourcand also agreed to forfeit $18,500 as part of his guilty plea.

The case is another example of increased cooperation in FCPA cases. In the release, the Justice Department thanked Haiti’s financial intelligence unit, the Unité Centrale de Renseignements Financiers (UCREF), the Bureau des Affaires Financières et Economiques (BAFE), which is a specialized component of the Haitian National Police, and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.

Trial Attorney Kevin Gerrity of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, Trial Attorney Nicola J. Mrazek of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Aurora Fagan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida prosecuted the case.


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