Two former executives of a now-defunct New York-based broker-dealer were each sentenced to two years in prison for their roles in a bribery scheme involving a Venezuela’s state-owned economic development bank. On December 8, Tomas Clarke, the former Miami-based senior vice president of the broker-dealer, was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to forfeit nearly $5.8 million for his role. On December 4, Ernesto Lujan, the former managing partner at the broker-dealer’s Miami office, was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to forfeit $18.5 million. The pair pleaded guilty in August 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to conspiracy to violate the FCPA, the Travel Act, and to commit money laundering, as well as substantive counts of these offenses.
The broker-dealer earned more than $60 million in commissions from trades placed by the Venezuela’s state-owned economic development bank over a five year period. To obtain that business, the broker-dealer paid millions of dollars in bribes to an official, Maria De Los Angeles Gonzalez De Hernandez (Gonzalez), at the development bank, often routing them through third parties and offshore bank accounts in Switzerland and elsewhere. Clarke and Lujan are two of five former broker-dealer executives to plead guilty in connection with this case. In March, two other former executives, including the broker-dealer’s former CEO, were each sentenced to four years in prison. One other former executive, who pleaded guilty in August 2013, has yet to be sentenced. Gonzalez, who pleaded guilty in November 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to conspiracy to violate the Travel Act and to commit money laundering, as well as substantive counts of these offenses, also is awaiting sentencing.