Execs, Employees Netted in FBI Sting, Accused of Bribery

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Twenty-two people who work as suppliers to military and law enforcement authorities have been arrested on charges of bribery and corruption.

All but one of the executives and other employees were nabbed as they arrived in Las Vegas for a convention, the 2010 Shooting, Hunting & Outdoor Trade Show. Accused of agreeing to pay a 20 percent commission to an undercover FBI agent who was posing as a representative of an African country’s minister of defense, the defendants were attempting to win a deal, worth millions of dollars, to outfit that country’s presidential guard.

According to several indictments, at least one other undercover FBI agent was involved in the sting, masquerading as a procurement officer for that same African nation.

The employees who were arrested worked for companies located in Arkansas, Virginia, Florida, California, Massachusetts, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky, and executives of overseas outfits located in the United Kingdom and Israel.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which was passed by Congress in 1977, makes it illegal to bribe foreign government officials. This case marks the largest single investigation, and will be the largest single prosecution, of individuals since the act was passed over three decades ago. Additionally, it is the first use of a large-scale undercover operation to enforce the ban.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, who heads the Justice Department’s criminal division, said in a briefing for reporters that there are currently more than 140 investigations being conducted under this act.

A spokesperson for the National Shooting Sports Foundation of Newtown, CT, which hosts the trade show being held in Las Vegas this week, said that the arrests were a complete surprise to those involved in organizing the convention. He would not answer questions about the arrest, referring reporters to the FBI and the Department of Justice.

The convention, which is being held at the Sands Expo & Convention Center, will have more than 55,000 attendees this year.

The 22 individuals have been indicted on counts of conspiracy, conspiracy to engage in money laundering, and substantive violations of the corrupt practices act. Charges relating to violating the corrupt practices act carry a prison sentence of five years, maximum, upon conviction. If convicted on the charge of conspiracy to launder money, the individuals may face a maximum sentence of 20 years.

The undercover investigation and sting operation which aimed to capture these execs and employees began two and a half years ago.

 

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