Federal prosecutors in Massachusetts charged a retired U.S. Army colonel with conspiracy to bribe senior officials in Haiti in order to secure an $84 million project in the country, a release from the Justice Department said.
Authorities arrested Joseph Baptiste, 64, of Fulton, Md., and charged him with one county of conspiracy to violate the Federal Corrupt Practices Act and to commit money laundering.
Court documents indicate Baptiste attempted to solicit bribes from undercover agents in Boston who posed as potential investors in a port development project in the Mole-Saint-Nicolas area of Haiti.
The agents recorded a meeting with Baptiste at a hotel in which Baptiste appears to tell agents he would facilitate the bribes from the agents to appropriate senior Haitian officials. Baptiste said he would move the money through a non-profit agency he controls that poses as an organization that helps impoverished Haitians.
Prosecutors said that after the agents wired $50,000 to Baptiste’s non-profit, he used the money for personal purposes.
Should he be found guilty, Baptiste faces a maximum of five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
SOURCE: UPI – Danielle Haynes