Darwin Enrique Padron-Acosta was a U.S. permanent resident and a resident of Florida, and he, along with others, controlled a number of closely held companies, including several U.S. companies, that were used to secure contracts with Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. ("PDVSA"), the state-owned oil company of Venezuela.
According to the documents in this case, between 2009 and 2014, Padron conspired with others to bribe PDVSA officials, including Jose Luis Ramos Castillo and an unnamed official, both executives at Bariven S.A., PDVSA's procurement subsidiary, in order to obtain and retain lucrative energy contracts with PDVSA. Padron wired the bribe payments from bank accounts of Padron's companies and intermediaries to the bank accounts of PDVSA officials, their relatives, or others designated by the PDVSA officials who received the bribes. In addition to the monetary payments, Padron made bribes of gifts, meals, and recreational travel.
On September 30, 2016, the DOJ filed a sealed Information against Padron alleging a single count of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA and to commit money laundering. On October 17, 2016, Padron entered into a plea agreement with the DOJ. The case was unsealed on July 27, 2019, and on November 25, 2019, the court sentenced Padron to 18 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and ordered him to forfeit $9,052,397.73 and to pay a mandatory assessment of $100.
In a related case, on November 24, 2015, the DOJ filed a two count sealed Information in the Southern District of Texas against Ramos alleging conspiracy to commit money laundering. On December 3, 2015, Ramos entered into a plea agreement with the DOJ. The DOJ filed its motion for preliminary order of forfeiture on June 29, 2016, which the court granted on July 12, 2016. As part of that forfeiture order, Ramos was ordered to forfeit $10,319,316.15 and several real estate properties. On August 27, 2019, the court issued an amended forfeiture order reducing the amount Ramos must forfeit to $7,812,315.15. In the order, the court noted that proceeds from the bank account and the sale of the real estate ordered forfeited in the earlier order totalled $1,344,652.25. That amount would be credited against the $7+ million ordered forfeited in the amended order. On September 6, 2019, the court sentenced Ramos to 18 months in prison to be followed by 2 years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a fine of $15,000 plus a mandatory assessment of $100.