The Department of Justice is seeking a lenient sentence for its cooperating witness in the failed Africa sting prosecution that might keep him out of prison.
Richard Bistrong pleaded guilty in 2010 to one count of conspiracy to violate FCPA’s antibribery and books
and records provisions, and to export military products without proper authorization.
He faced up to five years in prison for the offenses committed when he was vice president of international sales for Armor Holdings Inc.
But the DOJ recommended in a court filing Monday that he be sentenced to ‘a combination of probation, home confinement, and/or community service’ of up to six months.
The first two Africa sting trials ended in a series of mistrials and acquittals. The government finally moved to dismiss the entire case. Twenty-two defendants were originally charged with FCPA and related offenses. Three pleaded guilty but the DOJ also eventually dropped the indictments against them.
According to the government, Bistrong’s cooperation was ‘exceptional.’ He provided detailed information about his own criminal conduct, the DOJ said, and he described ‘corruption in the military and law enforcement products industries, including information about individuals in those industries who he understood had engaged in and were continuing to engage in corrupt conduct.’
After the DOJ dropped the remaining indictments, Calli said it had been a ‘fake case’ that wasted millions in taxpayer money.
‘The DOJ’s reliance on partnerships with criminals like Richard Bistrong,’ Calli said then, ‘are fraught with immoral implications and create petri dishes for government mischief.’
Bistrong actively helped the government gather evidence in the sting operation.
‘Working at the FBI’s direction,’ the DOJ said Monday, ‘Bistrong met with those individuals and recorded conversations in which [they] described their past corrupt activities. Bistrong also asked the individuals about ongoing corrupt deals in which they were involved.’
After ten months of undercover work, the DOJ said, Bistrong had ‘engaged in approximately 155 consensually monitored meetings and online Skype conversations, for a total of approximately 527 hours of recorded conversations, and almost 25,000 consensually monitored telephone conversations. These recordings included conversations with virtually every one of Bistrong’s professional contacts, some of whom were also close personal friends.’
The government said Bistrong wasn’t responsible for the collapse of the biggest FCPA prosecution in history.
He’s scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Richard Leon in federal court in the District of Columbia on August 1.