FCPA-related jury trials are rare. In some years there might be one but in many years there are none. This year, however, there were three, ending in convictions of four defendants.
In the first trial this year, a federal jury in Boston convicted two defendants for a scheme to bribe officials in Haiti.
After a two-week trial in June, Roger Richard Boncy, 74, a dual U.S. and Haitian citizen, was found guilty of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and Travel Act.
The jury also convicted his co-defendant, Joseph Baptiste, 66, of Fulton, Maryland, of the same conspiracy charges, plus one count of violating the Travel Act and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Both Boncy and Baptiste have filed motions for new trials. The motions are pending.
In his motion, Baptiste said his trial lawyer provided ineffective representation. The DOJ said in response, “The strongest evidence against Baptiste came from Baptiste’s own words during multiple recorded conversations. This evidence was properly admissible, not susceptible to impeachment by anyone, and devastating proof of Baptiste’s guilt. [His lawyer’s] purported errors were harmless in the face of such powerful evidence.”
In November a federal jury in Connecticut convicted Lawrence Hoskins, 69, on six counts of violating the FCPA, three counts of money laundering, and two counts of conspiracy. The UK citizen was a senior vice president for Alstom SA. He worked in Paris and said he never traveled to the United States. The trial lasted two weeks but the jury needed only one day to make its decision. Hoskins has asked for a post-verdict acquittal or a new trial. “A new trial is required in the interests of justice,” he said in his motion, “because the jury’s verdict was against the weight of the evidence and represents a seriously erroneous result.” But through an interlocutory appeal before his trial started, the appeals court already gave the DOJ and trial court a roadmap to follow in applying the FCPA to Hoskins as an agent acting for Alstom’s Connecticut subsidiary.
Also in November, a federal jury in Maryland convicted Mark Lambert, 56, of four counts of violating the FCPA and related charges. He was formerly the president of Maryland-based Transport Logistics Inc., which itself had pleaded guilty of bribing a Russian official in exchange for contracts to transport nuclear materials to customers in the United States. His trial lasted three weeks, with a week of that for jury deliberations. So far Lambert hasn’t asked for a new trial but he still has time to file a motion.
In 2018 there was one FCPA-related jury trial. Patrick Ho, now 70, was convicted in federal court in Manhattan. He bribed African officials on behalf of a Chinese energy company. The jury convicted the former Hong Kong home secretary of violating the FCPA, conspiracy, and money laundering. It deliberated just one day after a one-week trial. In March this year Ho was sentenced to three years in prison and fined $400,000.
In the only FCPA-related jury trial in 2017, Ng Lap Seng (also known as David Ng), now 71, of Macau, was found guilty after a four-week trial of bribing two United Nations officials. The federal jury in Manhattan convicted him on FCPA conspiracy and substantive counts and related charges. Ng was sentenced in May 2018 to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $2.8 million in fines, forfeiture, and restitution. In August this year the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected Ng’s appeal.
There weren’t any FCPA-related jury trials in 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.