Gerald Green died this week. He is one of the few individuals who went to trial against the Justice Department in a case where the government alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Back in 2009, Green and his wife Patricia were convicted. According to the DOJ press release, from 2002 through 2007 the Greens conspired with others to bribe the former governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (to the tune of $1.8 million) to acquire lucrative film festival contracts, as well as other deals for the development of a Thai Privilege Card, a website, book, video, calendars and public relations services.
The Greens used different business entities, some with dummy addresses and telephone numbers, to hide how much they were receiving under the contracts. The jury found that Greens disguised the bribes as “sales commissions” and made the payments through foreign bank accounts of intermediaries in Singapore, the United Kingdom and Jersey, some in the name of the former governor’s daughter and a friend.
As noted in the FCPA Blog, the Greens are the only husband and wife ever convicted of FCPA offenses in a jury trial. They were also the first individuals from the entertainment industry to face FCPA charges. At the sentencing hearing, the DOJ advocated for lengthy prison sentences of at least 10 years for each of them, but the trial judge, Judge George Wu, sentenced each of them to six months behind bars, followed by three years of supervised release.
In other words, the sentences for both were about as lenient as they could have possibly received. Wu, however, also granted the government’s request for forfeiture, leading to seizure of most of the couple’s assets, including their house, car, bank accounts, and their company and its pension plan. The Greens lost so much that they were declared in forma pauperis for their appeal and the government paid for the Green’s appellate counsel.
The moral of this story is that if you go to trial and lose in a FCPA case, the cost can be draconian.