Ex-broker Jose Alejandro Hurtado was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a $60 million bribery scheme after pleading guilty in 2013 to a variety of criminal charges, including violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, money laundering, and obstruction of justice.[i]
According to prosecutors, Hurtado and fellow employees of New York broker-dealer Direct Access Partners LLC (DAP) channeled millions of dollars in bribe monies to senior officials at Banco de Desarrollo Economico y Social de Venezuela. In exchange, DAP received bond-trading business from the state-owned Venezuelan bank. Prosecutors determined DAP received $60 million in commissions from the illegal activity, and Hurtado personally gained $11.9 million in profits.[ii]
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) examiners uncovered evidence of suspicious payments in 2010, though DAP employees attempted to obfuscate the scheme by deleting emails. This proved fruitless, as the correspondence had been saved on the company’s backup system.[iii]
All DAP employees charged in connection with the bribery activity have pled guilty, with all but one sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to four years. The final individual is scheduled for sentencing in January of 2016. Hurtado’s then girlfriend and now wife is named in a civil suit brought by the SEC.[iv]
While presiding Judge Denise Cote of the U.S. District Manhattan Court praised Hurtado’s cooperation with the federal investigation, she stated, “These were very, very significant crimes that deserve an appropriate sentence to reflect their seriousness.”[v] Although Cosgrove Law Group LLC focuses its practice in financial industry matters, it also represents clients in the federal courts. In addition to those civil matters which are not captured by an arbitration agreement, industry malfeasance cases migrate to the federal criminal courts from time to time, as well.