November 18, 2019

Former deputy UN ambassador for the Dominican Republic sentenced to community service and time served in $1.5 million FCPA case

On November 8, 2019, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York sentenced Francis “Frank” Lorenzo, formerly the Deputy Ambassador from the Dominican Republic to the United Nations, to perform 250 hours of community service, pay restitution of over $200,000, and forfeit an additional $1 million.
In October 2015, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) alleged that Lorenzo and his co-defendants had committed money laundering and violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by receiving and making improper payments to John Ashe (the representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations and, from September 2013 to September 2014, the President of the United Nations General Assembly), in order to obtain favorable treatment for a conference center and real estate development project in Macau.  
In February 2016, the Court denied Lorenzo’s motion to dismiss the indictment on the grounds of diplomatic immunity, ruling that Lorenzo is a US citizen and thus not immune from criminal prosecution.  Thereafter, on April 27, 2017, Lorenzo pleaded guilty to money laundering, violating the FCPA, filing false income tax returns, and willful failure to file foreign banking and financial records, as well as related conspiracy charges.  Lorenzo accepted responsibility for his actions and cooperated with the DOJ.  The DOJ credited Lorenzo’s cooperation during the investigation, and his testimony during the trial of Ng Lap Seng—the businessman who masterminded the bribery scheme—with playing a critical role in the successful prosecution.  The DOJ explained that Lorenzo “provided the jury with a detailed, insider’s view of how Ng began his scheme and directed it over a period of over five years,” and Lorenzo’s testimony at trial was “meaningful, powerful, and corroborative of documentary evidence.”  Ng was sentenced in June 2018 to 48 months imprisonment, and required to forfeit $1.5 million, pay a $1 million fine, and provide $302,977.20 in restitution to the UN.

Sentencing Memorandum