Who We Get Our Energy From?
José Luis De Jongh Atencio former procurement official and manager of the Special Projects Group of CITGO entered into a plea agreement in the District Court of the United States Southern District of Texas.
by Maibort Petit
The sentence of José Luis De Jongh Atencio that was expected to be known this February 10, 2022 at 2 pm by the judge of the case, Gray Miller, in the District Court of the United States Southern District of Texas, was rescheduled by said magistrate on January 14 when he established the new schedule that he sets for July 6 of this year, the completion of the Pre-Judgment Report (PSR), the objection to it by July 20, August 3 to file it and, finally, August 10 for sentencing at 11:30 a.m.
This rescheduling allowed Judge Miller to approve, without opposition from the prosecutor's office, on February 3, a travel permit for José Luis De Jongh Atencio to move to Miami between February 17 and 21, 2022.
About the Author
Maibort Petit is a Venezuelan writer, researcher and political scientist specialized in Transnational Organized Crime. Based in New York, she works for various Hispanic media outlets and as a consultant for various firms in New York and Washington DC.
De Jongh Atencio reached such a stage of the judicial process by ignoring the trial by having pleaded guilty on March 22, 2021 to participating in an international bribery and money laundering scheme.
Of the aforementioned scheme and how the former procurement official and manager of the Special Projects Group of CITGO got here and how he got involved with businessmen José Manuel González Testino and Tulio Aníbal Farías Pérez, we will give details in a series of deliveries about this case. On this occasion we will explain what the plea agreement between José Luis De Jongh and the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas consisted of.
First, De Jongh Atencio agreed to plead guilty to the first count of the replacement charge brought against him, namely conspiracy to launder money, a crime whose maximum legal penalty is imprisonment of no more than twenty years and a fine of not more than USD 500,000 or twice the value of the funds laundered, whichever is greater. It is indicated that he could receive a term of supervised release after imprisonment of up to three years.
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He acknowledged and understood that, if he violates the conditions of any period of supervised release that may be imposed as part of his sentence, then he can be imprisoned for up to two years, without credit for the time already served in the term of supervised release prior to such a violation. He understands that he cannot cause the imposition or execution of the sentence to be suspended, nor is he eligible for parole.
In admitting the facts, José Luis De Jongh stated that he wanted to plead guilty, regardless of the immigration consequences that might result from it and the conviction.
The plea agreement signed by De Jongh Atencio sets the tone for his cooperation with justice.
In this regard, it is noted that the parties understand that the agreement carries the potential for an exit motion under Section 5K1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines, while agreeing that the filing of such motion will be determined through the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas and the Fraud Section.
In that regard, it was understood that if the cooperation of the accused — at the sole discretion and discretion of the United States — amounts to "substantial assistance", then they reserve the exclusive right to file a request for exit in accordance with the rule described.
José Luis De Jongh Atencio agreed to cooperate fully with the US and not to oppose the confiscation of property contemplated in the agreement. It also understands and agrees that the United States will request that the sentence be deferred until the cooperation is completed.
The defendant agreed that "fully cooperating" in the terms of the agreement, including providing all information related to any criminal activity known to him.
It was established that the agreement only binds the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, the Fraud Section and his person, and not any other U.S. attorney or Department of Justice unit.
De Jongh pledged to testify truthfully before a grand jury or in any other judicial or administrative proceeding when requested by the United States. He also agreed to waive his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination for the purposes of the agreement.
Similarly, José Luis De Jongh agreed to provide truthful, complete and accurate information and testimony, while stating that he understands that any false statement he issues to the Grand Jury or in any judicial proceeding (criminal or civil), or to a government agent or lawyer, can and will be prosecuted under the appropriate statutes of perjury, false statement or obstruction.
The defendant agreed to provide all documents in his possession or under his control relating to all areas of inquiry and investigation.
José Luis De Jongh agreed that if the recommended exit, if applicable, does not meet his expectations, he will remain subject to the terms of the agreement and cannot, for that reason alone, withdraw his statement.
By signing the agreement, José Luis De Jongh waived the right to appeal or "collaterally attack" the conviction and sentence; all venue-based defenses and speedy trial under the Constitution and the Speedy Trial Act.
He understood that any sentencing guideline he received through his attorney is only a prediction and not a promise, did not induce his guilty plea, and is not binding on the United States, the Probation Office, or the Court.
The United States Agreements
For its part, the U.S. agreed that by pleading José Luis de Jongh guilty of Count One of the Substitute Indictment and persisting in that statement until sentencing, it will dismiss any remaining charges of the indictment at the time of sentencing.
It was established that at the time of sentencing, the defendant's advance request to receive a two-level downward adjustment in accordance with the provisions of the standard will be added. It did not recommend that he receive a third level of adjustment for promptly notifying the authorities of his intentions to plead guilty.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas and the Fraud Section agreed not to continue to prosecute Jose Luis De Jongh Atencio for crimes arising from the conduct charged in the Substitution Indictment.
From that position, De Jongh Atencio accepted bribes from businessmen José Manuel González Testino and Tulio Aníbal Farías Pérez, in exchange for assisting them and their companies in the U.S. to obtain and retain contracts with CITGO. This included providing them with inside information to give them an advantage in submitting bids for contracts.
In this sense, José Luis De Jongh Atencio received from the aforementioned businessmen several payments in several accounts of him and his relatives. We will talk about all these transactions in detail in other deliveries.
Consequences for non-compliance
The agreement states that, if José Luis De Jongh fails to comply with the guidelines of the plea agreement, the United States will be released from its obligations under that agreement and the guilty plea and sentence will be maintained.
It also warns that if at any time De Jongh retains, conceals or disposes of assets in violation of the plea agreement, or if he knowingly retains evidence or is not completely truthful to the United States, then the Tribunal may be asked to set aside the agreement and reinstate the indictment.
The United States has the discretion to determine if José Luis De Jongh Atencio does not fully comply with the terms of the plea agreement, then he will waive any protection granted; you will not assert any claims under the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, or the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Also, any statement made as part of the guilt debates, any report or interview, whether before or after the execution of the agreement, will be admissible against you without any limitation in any civil or criminal proceedings initiated.
Restitution, confiscation and fines
José Luis De Jongh Atencio committed to the agreement to fully disclose all assets over which he exercises direct or indirect control, or in which he has any financial interest, whether they are held in his name or not. Nor will it have them.
He also pledged to make a financial disclosure within 30 days of signing the plea agreement and to transfer ownership of the confiscated assets to the U.S. and assist in the collection of restitution and fines. It would order any bank in custody of its assets to hand over all funds and records of such assets to the United States.
De Jongh Atencio accepted that the factual basis of his guilty plea supports the confiscation of all assets involved in the money laundering conspiracy to which he pleads guilty. You waived any and all interests in any asset that is the subject of a related administrative or judicial forfeiture proceeding, whether criminal or civil, federal or state.
He consented to any forfeiture order being final immediately upon entry, according to the rule, even if signed before sentencing.