On Tuesday, October 25, 2011, defendants Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez, former executives of Terra Telecommunications Corporation who were convicted in August 2011 for their roles in a conspiracy to violate the FCPA and commit money laundering, were sentenced to 15 years and 7 years in prison, respectively. With respect to Mr. Esquenazi, a Press Release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida pointed out that "[t]his is the longest sentence ever imposed in a case involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act."
As discussed here, Messrs. Esquenazi and Rodriguez were convicted on August 5, 2011 for FCPA violations for bribes paid to Telecommunications D’Haiti S.A.M. ("Haiti Teleco"), a state-owned telecommunications company in Haiti. Following a two-and-a-half week trial, the jury convicted the pair after only five hours of deliberation of one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, seven counts of violating the FCPA, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering and 12 counts of money laundering.
Mr. Esquenazi's sentence is another example of cases where federal prosecutors have sought very long sentences for those who violated the FCPA. For example, as described here, in the case of Gerald and Patricia Green, the Government urged the Court to sentence the Greens to ten years in prison. The Government then appealed Judge George Wu's decision to sentence the couple to six months in prison, but ultimately elected to dismiss that appeal in August 2011.
FCPA cases are not the only white collar crime cases where long sentences are being imposed. Raj Rajaratnam received a record-length eleven years in prison in an insider trading case and a recent study has shown an increase in similar cases.