The government’s cooperating witness in the failed Africa sting prosecution now lives at the minimum security facility adjacent to the United States Penitentiary (USP) in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania (pictured left).
Richard Bistrong, 50, prisoner number 30079-016, has a release date of January 15, 2014.
He was sentenced this year to 18 months in prison and 36 months probation.
In 2010, Bistrong pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and to export military hardware without proper authorization.
USP Lewisburg is in central Pennsylvania, 200 miles north of Washington, D.C. and 170 miles west of Philadelphia.
The DOJ had asked federal judge Richard Leon not to jail Bistrong based on his ‘extraordinary cooperation’ in the Africa sting case.
But two separate trials of ten different defendants ended in no convictions. 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.
The government’s Africa sting operation alienated jurors. FBI agents had posed as officials and representatives of the government of Gabon. Bistrong introduced the undercover FBI team to his friends and colleagues in the military and police equipment industry. The agents then used hidden cameras and microphones to record their meetings with Bistrong’s friends and colleagues.
Another problem for the feds was Bistrong’s own credibility. Before the first sting trial opened, defense lawyers said the case was ‘built entirely around an irredeemably corrupt con-man, Richard Bistrong, and that, by mishandling him and by other misconduct, the government allowed Bistrong to contaminate every aspect of the operation.’
After the Africa sting prosecution collapsed and the DOJ dismissed all 22 indictments, Judge Leon described the case as ‘a long and sad chapter in the annals of white collar criminal enforcement.’