Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. ("PDVSA'') was the state-owned and state-controlled oil company in Venezuela. PDVSA was responsible for the exploration, production, refining, transportation, and trade in energy resources in Venezuela and provided funding for other operations of the Venezuelan government. Petrocedeno S.A. was a PDVSA subsidiary that consisted of a combination of PDVSA and two European oil companies, with majority control belonging to PDVSA. Petrocedeno had a significant operating budget and awarded several hundred million dollars in procurement contracts each year.
Lennys Rangel held various positions at the PDVSA subsidiaries, including as head of procurement for Petrocedeco.
According to the documents in this case, between March 2015 and 2017, senior PDVSA officials directed Rangel to assist and expedite the award of Petrocedeno contracts. Expediting the award of the contracts would ultimately yield benefits for those senior PDVSA officials as well as other Venezuelan officials. In order to complete that task, Rangel agreed to receive over $5 million in bribes from PDVSA contractors in exchange for her assistance in obtaining the Petrocedeno procurement contracts. Rangel concealed the bribes by directing that they be made to bank accounts held in the name of her relatives and friends, and she subsequently used proceeds of the bribes for her own personal benetfit, including the purchase of real estate in South Florida.
On November 1, 2019, the DOJ filed a sealed single count information in the Southern District of Florida against Rangel alleging conspiracy to commit money laundering. The case was unsealed on March 11, 2020, and Rangel entered into a plea agreement on August 11, 2020. On March 24, 2021, the court sentenced Rangel to 23 months in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release and ordered her to pay a mandatory special assessment of $100. On the same date, the court also prelimarily ordered Rangel to $5 million.