On October 14, 2020, the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida reduced the sentences of Jesus Ramon Veroes, and Luis Alberto Chacin Haddad, two Miami businessmen who received 51-month sentences for conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by participating in a scheme to bribe Corporación Eléctrica Nacional, S.A. (Corpoelec) officials. Corpoelec is a Venezuelan state-owned electrical company. Upon a motion by the government, the court reduced each sentence by 40 percent, resulting in 30-month sentences for both defendants.
In reaching its ruling, the Court noted that each defendant’s original 51-month sentence was below the US Sentencing Guidelines range of 108 to 135 months as well as below the statutory maximum of 60 months. Nonetheless, the sentences were reduced because of Veroes and Chacin’s cooperation with the government before and after their sentencing, which included waiving their right to be charged by a grand jury, providing detailed information regarding the bribery scheme and subsequent laundering of funds, and sharing bank records and correspondence that led to the indictments of additional participants in the crime. In addition to the reductions moved for by the US government, both defendants had also requested sentence reductions due to the health risks posed by COVID-19. The Court made clear that the pandemic and individual health conditions were not factors that the Court could consider when evaluating a Rule 35 motion for a sentence reduction.