Boston, Massachusetts - A businessman was charged in a superseding indictment filed Tuesday for his alleged participation in a scheme to bribe senior government officials of the Republic of Haiti in connection with a planned $84 million port development project, and to launder funds in order to promote the bribery. An alleged co-conspirator was previously charged in the original indictment.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling of the District of Massachusetts, Assistant Director Christopher Hacker of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division and Special Agent in Charge Harold M. Shaw of the FBI’s Boston Field Office made the announcement.
Roger Richard Boncy, 74, a dual U.S. and Haitian citizen who resides in Madrid, Spain, was charged in a superseding indictment filed in the District of Massachusetts with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the Travel Act, one count of violating the Travel Act and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The superseding indictment also charges Boncy’s co-conspirator, Joseph Baptiste, DDS, 66, of Fulton, Maryland, with the same crimes. Baptiste was originally charged by indictment in this case in October 2017. Baptiste’s trial is scheduled to begin on Dec. 3, in the District of Massachusetts in Boston.
The superseding indictment alleges that Boncy and Baptiste solicited bribes from undercover agents posing as potential investors in connection with a proposed project to develop a port in the Mȏle St. Nicolas area of Haiti. The proposed project was expected to cost approximately $84 million and was to involve the construction of multiple cement factories, a shipping-vessel recycling station, an international transshipment station with numerous slips for shipping vessels, a power plant, a petroleum depot and tourist facilities.
During a recorded meeting at a Boston-area hotel, Boncy and Baptiste allegedly told the agents that, in order to secure Haitian government approval of the project, they would funnel the payments to Haitian officials through a non-profit entity that Baptiste controlled, which was based in Maryland and purported to help impoverished residents of Haiti. In intercepted telephone calls, Boncy and Baptiste also allegedly discussed bribing an aide to a high-level elected official in Haiti with a job on the port development project, in exchange for the aide’s help in obtaining the elected official’s authorization for the project.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The FBI’s Boston Field Office and International Corruption Unit investigated the case. Trial Attorney Elina A. Rubin-Smith of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kriss Basil of the District of Massachusetts are prosecuting the case.