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Date: 10-12-2019

Case Style:

United States of America v. Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda

Case Number: 1:18-cr-20312-MGC

Judge: Marcia G. Cooke

Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Miami-Dade County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: Karen Rochlin, Alison Whitney Lehr, Brian R. Young, David M. Fuhr, Katherine Raut, Lorinda Laryea, Mary Ann McCarthy, Nalina Soombuntham, Nicola J. Mrazek, Randall Warden

Defendant's Attorney:

Call 888-354-4529 if you need help finding a conspiracy to violate the FCPA, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida


Miami, FL - Miami-based Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty for Conspiring to Launder Money Relating to FCPA and Ecuadorian Bribery Law Violations

A financial advisor based in Miami, Florida, pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy for his role in using the U.S. financial system to launder money to promote violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and Ecuadorian bribery law violations and to conceal and disguise the true nature of those illegal bribe payments. Specifically, this conspiracy related to a scheme to pay bribes to officials of Ecuador’s state-owned and state-controlled oil company, Empresa Pública de Hidrocarburos del Ecuador (PetroEcuador).

Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda (Chatburn), 42, a dual U.S. and Ecuadorian citizen, pleaded guilty in federal district court in Miami before the Honorable Marcia G. Cooke to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a 20-year statutory maximum sentence.

According to his admissions at the plea hearing, Chatburn conspired with an oil services contractor to pay nearly $3 million in bribes to Ecuadorian government officials in an effort to obtain and retain contracts with PetroEcuador. As a financial advisor to the contractor, Chatburn agreed to make bribe payments for the benefit of several then-PetroEcuador officials through the use of shell companies and bank accounts in the United States, Panama, the Cayman Islands, Curacao and Switzerland. To conceal the bribe payments and to promote the scheme, Chatburn established Panamanian shell companies with Swiss bank accounts on behalf of two then-PetroEcuador officials.

Chatburn further admitted that he conspired with another Ecuadorian government official to conceal bribe payments intended for the official from Odebrecht S.A., the Brazilian construction conglomerate. Chatburn facilitated hiding these bribe payments by conducting the transactions through several shell companies and bank accounts in multiple jurisdictions, including in the United States. Odebrecht S.A. pleaded guilty on Dec. 21, 2016, in the Eastern District of New York to conspiring to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA in connection with a broader scheme to pay nearly $800 million in bribes to public officials in twelve countries, including Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

To date, 10 individuals, including former Ecuadorian government officials, oil services contractors and financial advisors, have pleaded guilty to criminal charges in U.S. courts for their involvement in the PetroEcuador bribery and money laundering schemes.

This case was investigated by HSI and IRS-CI, jointly under the auspices of the Global Illicit Financial Team, and by the FBI’s International Corruption Squad in Miami. Southern District of Florida Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen Rochlin, Nalina Sombuntham and Alison W. Lehr have provided substantial assistance with the prosecution of this case, along with Deputy Chief Brian Young, Assistant Chiefs David Fuhr and Lorinda Laryea, Trial Attorney Katherine Raut of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Trial Attorneys Randall Warden and Mary Ann McCarthy of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS).

The U.S. Marshals Service and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs have provided significant assistance by obtaining evidence in this case, as have public authorities in, among other countries, Ecuador, Panama and the Cayman Islands.

MLARS’s Bank Integrity Unit investigates and prosecutes banks and other financial institutions, including their officers, managers and employees, whose actions threaten the integrity of the individual institution or the wider financial system.

The Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all FCPA matters. Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at

To learn more about the government’s FCPA enforcement efforts, go to


18:371.F Conspiracy to Violate the FCPA.
18:1956-4999.F Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering
15:78D.F Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
18:1956-4999.F Money Laundering.
18:U.S.C.§1956(a)(2)(A)MONEY LAUNDERING
18:U.S.C.§1956(a)(1)(B)(i)MONEY LAUNDERING

Outcome: 10/11/2019 210 PAPERLESS Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Marcia G. Cooke: Change of Plea Hearing as to Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda held on 10/11/2019. Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda (1) Guilty Count 2s. Total time in court: 30 minutes. Attorney Appearances: Randall Warden, Katherine Raut, Mary Ann McCarthy, Howard Milton Srebnick. Court Reporter: Jill Felicetti, 305-523-5158 / (im) (Entered: 10/11/2019)
10/11/2019 211 NOTICE OF SENTENCING HEARING as to Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda. Sentencing set for 12/18/2019 11:00 AM in Miami Division before Judge Marcia G. Cooke. (im) (Entered: 10/11/2019)
10/11/2019 212 PLEA AGREEMENT as to Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda. (im) (Entered: 10/11/2019)
10/11/2019 213 FACTUAL PROFFER STATEMENT as to Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda. (im) (Entered: 10/11/2019)

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