Yesterday’s post (here) summarized the criminal indictments against former BizJet executives Bernd Kowalewski and Jald Jensen. Today’s post discusses the related criminal informations, based on the same core set of conduct, against former BizJet executives Peter DuBois (former Vice President of Sales & Marketing) and Neal Uhl (former Controller, Vice President of Finance). As noted in the prior post, DuBois and Uhl agreed to plead guilty and were sentenced last week.
Today’s post also highlights documents recently unsealed in the DuBois and Uhl action which reveal a trove of information of interest to anyone curious about the inner workings of an FCPA enforcement action and connecting the dots to other FCPA enforcement actions.
DuBois was charged via a criminal information (here) with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions and one substantive FCPA anti-bribery violation. The conduct at issue is the same core set of conduct at issue in 2012 BizJet corporation action, as well as the criminal indictments against Kowalewski and Jensen. That is a scheme to “obtain aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (“MRO”) service contracts and other business [for BizJet] from foreign government customers, including the Mexican Federal Police, the Mexican President’s Fleet, Sinaloa and the Panama Aviation Authority, by paying bribes to government officials employed by the foreign government customers.”
The DuBois information was filed on December 27, 2011 and the related motion by the DOJ to seal the docket (since unsealed) reveals the following.
As part of his plea agreement, DuBois worked in an undercover capacity for the government. The motion specifically states as follows. “As part of his work in an undercover capacity, Mr. DuBois has recorded conversations with former BizJet executives and other subjects of the government’s ongoing investigation.” Later, the motion to seal states that “public identification of Mr. DuBois as a defendant who likely is cooperating with the government may jeopardize the undercover aspect of the government’s investigation.”
In the plea agreement, DuBois agreed to pay a forfeiture amount of $98,950 “representing proceeds derived by defendant in connection with the conspiracy” and to pay an additional $61,000 as the amount DuBois “received … as a result of his participation in the conspiracy.”
The DOJ’s memo in support of a downward departure for sentencing states as follows.
DuBois “assisted in the investigation from the outset and cooperated fully with the government throughout its investigation. DuBois submitted to multiple interviews by the government and has assisted in every way that the government has asked. DuBois told the truth to the government from the outset and continued to do so up until this very day. DuBois’ cooperation not only assisted the government in connection with its investigation into BizJet, but also led to the investigation of another maintenance, repair, and overhaul company engaged in a similar scheme to pay bribes to government officials overseas.”
This last portion of the DOJ’s memo makes clear that the 2012 FCPA enforcement action against NORDAM Group (see here for the prior post) had its origins in the BizJet enforcement action. Both BizJet and NORDAM Group are Tulsa, OK based aircraft maintenance companies. The link and information about DuBois’ undercover role also raises the issue of whether individual prosecutions related to the NORDAM Group corporate enforcement action are also forthcoming.
As noted in the DOJ release, DuBois was sentenced to 60 months probation and eight months home detention.
Uhl was charged via a criminal information (here - filed on December 28, 2011) with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions. The conduct at issue is the same core set of conduct as indicated above, that is a scheme to “obtain aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (“MRO”) service contracts and other business [for BizJet] from foreign government customers, including the Mexican Federal Police, the Mexican President’s Fleet, Sinaloa and the Panama Aviation Authority, by paying bribes to government officials employed by the foreign government customers.” See here for the Uhl plea agreement.
In the Uhl matter, the DOJ’s motion for a downward departure states as follows.
Uhl ”agreed to a voluntary proffer session and, when confronted by the government, admitted to the illegal conduct. Throughout the course of the investigation, Uhl was cooperative and provided truthful information that substantially assisted the government in confronting other co-conspirators and witnesses. Uhl offered to assist in any way that he could.”
As noted in the DOJ release, Uhl was sentenced to 60 months probation, eight months home detention, and was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
The motions to seal in both the DuBois and Uhl actions further state as follows. ”BizJet’s corrupt payments were not limited to Mexico. BizJet employees bribed key decision makers in a number of countries, including Panama, Brazil, and Chile.” This is notable in that the 2012 BizJet corporate enforcement action made no mention of conduct in Brazil or Chile. This demonstrates that resolution documents in a corporate FCPA enforcement action are the result of negotiations and that final documents rarely offer the complete picture of the conduct that allegedly occurred.
Both the DuBois and Uhl plea agreements further indicate that BizJet’s bribery scheme was not just in foreign countries. Both plea agreements state that the customers or potential customers BizJet bribed “included customers both in the United States and abroad.