On July 6, 2012, Patrick Joseph was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, and ordered to forfeit $955,596.69, for his role in the Haiti Teleco bribery scheme. Joseph, a former Director General for telecommunications at the Republic of Haiti’s state-owned national telecommunications company, Telecommunications D’Haiti (Haiti Teleco), had been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He entered into a plea agreement with the US Department of Justice earlier this year, pleading guilty to the charge.
Joseph faced up to 20 years in prison, but the DOJ recommended that the Court reduce the sentencing guideline by two levels under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines due to Joseph’s recognition and affirmative and timely acceptance of personal responsibility.
According to the Department of Justice, Cinergy Telecommunications Inc. and its related company, Uniplex Telecommunications Inc., paid more than $1.4 million to shell companies to be used for bribes to foreign officials of Haiti Teleco. Joseph was among the Haitian government officials at Haiti Teleco who received bribes, which were given to obtain various business advantages for Cinergy and Uniplex, including preferred telecommunications rates and credits toward sums owed.
Other than the notorious SHOT Show trials, which resulted in acquittals of some defendants and dismissals of the rest, the Haiti Teleco case has been the largest enforcement action by the DOJ to date in terms of the number of defendants.