The former national director of anti-corruption in Colombia and a foreign attorney pleaded guilty this week in federal court in Miami for their participation in a conspiracy to launder money with the intent to promote foreign bribery.

Luis Gustavo Moreno Rivera, 35, the former national director of anti-corruption in Colombia, and Leonardo Luis Pinilla Gomez, 31, an attorney practicing in Colombia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money in order to promote foreign bribery. The defendants entered their guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro in Miami. 

Rivera and Gomez are scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 19.

According to the court docket, including the agreed upon factual proffer, beginning in November 2016, in Colombia, a cooperating source of information (CS) was approached by Rivera and Gomez, who attempted to entice a bribe. 

Specifically, in exchange for 100 million Colombian pesos (the equivalent of approximately $34,500 U.S.), Rivera and Gomez offered to provide copies of sworn statements taken from cooperators who had testified against the CS. In June 2017, they traveled to Miami and met with the CS who, under the direction of the DEA, provided them with a $10,000 deposit of the bribe money. 

Recorded conversations revealed that Rivera and Gomez discussed the former’s ability to control the investigation and could inundate his prosecutors with work so that they would be unable to focus on the CS’s investigation. In exchange, the Columbian duo asked for a 400 million Colombian peso payment (the equivalent of approximately $132,000 U.S.), with an additional $30,000 to be paid prior to Rivera leaving the United States.

Several of the $100 bills from the $10,000 in bribe money were found on Rivera and his traveling companion as they boarded their flight back to Bogota, Colombia, from Miami. Both were arrested in Colombia.

This investigation and prosecution was carried out by members of the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force. Established in 1990, it is made up of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies who, cooperatively, target the region’s drug-trafficking and money laundering organizations. 

Related court documents and information may be found on the Website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida.