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Hollywood Sentencing Doesn’t Happen

Gerald and Patricia Green in happier days.Sentencing for Gerald and Patricia Green was delayed for the third time Thursday and rescheduled to April 29. The Hollywood producers were convicted last year of paying $1.8 million in bribes to a Thai official in exchange for contracts to produce the Bangkok Film Festival.

Gerald Green, 78, and his wife Patricia, 53, were first scheduled to be sentenced by Judge George H. Wu in federal court in Los Angeles on December 17, 2009. The government and the Greens agreed to wait until January 21, 2010. The judge then reset the hearing to April 1 after asking the parties for information about sentences in similar cases.

An LA jury in September 2009 found the Greens guilty of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, nine counts of violating the FCPA, and seven counts of money laundering. Patricia Green was also found guilty of two counts of falsely subscribing to a U.S. income tax return. The conspiracy and FCPA charges are each punishable by up to five years in prison, the money laundering counts by 20 years in prison, and the tax charges against Patricia Green each carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison.

The government has asked for a sentence of about 20 to 25 years for Gerald Green. In an earlier court filing, it said:

The [pre-sentence report] calculates defendant Gerald Green’s Total Offense Level as 38, his Criminal History Category as I, and his sentencing range as 235-293 months. With the inclusion of the additional role and obstruction enhancements recommended above, his Total Offense Level would be 44 and his sentencing range would be life in prison.

The Justice Department said evidence presented during their 2½-week trial showed that beginning in 2002 and continuing into 2007, the Greens conspired with others to bribe the former governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand with $1.8 million. The payments were used to land $13.5 million in film festival contracts and deals for development of a Thai Privilege Card, a website, book, video, calendars, and public relations services. The Greens, prosecutors said, used different business entities, some with dummy addresses and telephone numbers, to hide how much they were receiving under the contracts.

We’ve said before that Judge Wu may be reluctant to sentence the Greens to long prison terms. After yesterday’s hearing, a report by Dominic Patten of The Wrap said:

Watching the 90-minute session today in Judge Wu’s in LA’s downtown federal courthouse, it would be easy to think this was an April Fool’s joke gone off the rails, or that an actual trial and judgment had never happened. Both U.S. attorneys and defense lawyers seemed to re-argue the entire case, point-by-point, on issues of motivation, damages, medical condition, financial loss and gain, and sentencing guideline calculations.

Somberly dressed in black, both Gerald and Patricia Green say silently throughout the proceedings. The 78-year-old Gerald Green, who had an oxygen tune connected to his nose, only spoke once, to confer with his wife and his attorney Jerome Mooney about upcoming court dates. Because of the charges they face and their advanced age, they face the possibility of life in prison. 

In January, the Thai official named in the Greens’ prosecution was indicted with her daughter in Los Angleles. Juthamas Siriwan, the ex-governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and Jittisopa Siriwan, were charged with one count of conspiracy, seven counts of transporting funds to promote unlawful activity (bribery), and one count of aiding and abetting. If convicted, Siriwan and her daughter each face up to 20 years in prison. Siriwan has said she is innocent.

A copy of the indictment in U.S. v. Juthamas Siriwan in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Case No.: CR 09 00081) can be downloaded here.

Download a copy of the government’s December 14, 2009 response and objections to the pre-sentence report for Gerald Green here.

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