Top Menu

Judge (Again) Significantly Rejects DOJ’s Recommendation In Sentencing Leo Winston Smith

It has become a broken-record statement by now – a judge has significantly rejected the DOJ’s sentencing recommendation in an FCPA enforcement action. (See here and here for prior posts).

In September 2009, as described in the DOJ release (here), Leo Winston Smith (the former Director of Sales and Marketing for Pacific Consolidated Industries) pleaded guilty to charges related to the bribery of a U.K. Ministry of Defense official in order to obtain lucrative equipment contracts with the U.K. Royal Air Force, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. (Smith also pleaded guilty to corruptly obstructing and impeding the due administration of the internal revenue laws.).

The DOJ sought a 37 month sentence.

In his sentencing memorandum, Smith respectfully requested a term of probation with appropriate conditions. His attorney, Edward Patrick Swan Jr. of Luce Forward (here), noted as follows. “The prison term of 37 months recommended by the government is disproportionate to most of the other FCPA cases prosecuted by the Department of Justice” and that the “great majority of the sentences imposed in similar cases, and even in cases involving much larger bribe amounts, have been generally much less than what the government is recommending in this case.”

In early December 2010, U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford (C.D. Calif) sentenced Smith to six months imprisonment, followed by six months of home confinement, and three years of supervised release. (See here).

Just as it did not issue a release in connection with the Elkin and Green sentences, the DOJ did not issue a release in connection with Smith’s sentence.

Smith’s co-conspirator, Martin Self (here), was sentenced to two years probation in November 2008 (see here).

FCPA Violations Can Occur Even in Low-Risk Countries

The Department of Justice announced today (see here) that Leo Winston Smith pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA. According to the plea agreement, Smith (the former Director of Sales and Marketing for Pacific Consolidated Industries), along with Martin Eric self (a partial owner and former president of the company), created a sham marketing agreement with a relative of a United Kingdom Ministry of Defense official to facilitate the payment of approximately $70,000 to the official in exchange for Pacific Consolidated receiving contracts.

In May 2008, Self pleaded guilty to violating the FCPA for his role in the scheme and he is currently serving a probation sentence (see here). The DOJ release notes that the U.K. official pleaded guilty in the U.K. to receiving the bribes and he was sentenced to two years in prison.

FCPA violations in the U.K. – such things only happen in places like China and Nigeria right?


Companies need to be diligent about FCPA compliance no matter where they do business, not just traditional FCPA high-risk countries.

In announcing the plea, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer warned, “[b]ribery cannot be viewed as standard operating procedure when representatives from U.S. companies seek contracts abroad,” and a FBI official warned “[t]he FBI, with its partners, will continue to actively search for – and counter – these corrupting influences.”

Smith is to be sentenced this December.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes