On August 6, 2020, Felipe Moncaleano Botero, former chief executive officer of a Colombian subsidiary of a UK-based insurance broker, pleaded guilty in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to launder money in violation of 18 USC § 1956(h).
According to his factual proffer, Moncaleano introduced the insurance broker to an intermediary company owned by co-defendant Jose Vicente Gomez Avilez and his partner Roberto Heinert, and between 2013 and 2017 schemed to pay approximately $3,157,000 in bribes to Ecuadorian government officials at the state-owned insurance company, Seguros Sucre S.A., in order to retain contracts with the Ministry of Defense. At Moncoleano’s direction, millions of dollars disguised as commission payments were sent through various intermediary companies, including shell companies with bank accounts in Switzerland and the US, to conceal the source and true nature of the illicit funds.
Moncaleano was first charged in a criminal complaint unsealed in March 2020, along with co-defendants Juan Ribas Domenech and Jose Vicente Gomez Aviles. Ribas, the former chairman of Seguros Sucre and an alleged recipient of Moncaleano’s bribes, pleaded not guilty on July 17, 2020. Gomez pleaded guilty on June 11, 2020. Heinert, who is accused of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, is scheduled to be arraigned on August 31, 2020. Moncaleano, whose plea agreement posits a motion by the government for a downward departure from the advisory sentencing range, provided he continues to cooperate fully in the investigation, is scheduled to be sentenced on October 20, 2020.