Former Colombian anti-corruption prosecutor Luis Gustavo Moreno Rivera was sentenced today to four years in jail in Miami after pleading guilty to receiving thousands of dollars in bribes in a Florida mall from a Colombian politician under investigation in his country.
Moreno Rivera, 37, and his lawyer Luis Pinilla Gomez, 32, pleaded guilty last August in Miami to the crimes of “money laundering and electronic fraud,” although the former anti-corruption prosecutor had previously pleaded not guilty in his case. First appearance before the justice in Miami.
Federal Judge Ursula Ungaro did not impose the maximum sentence that could fall on the defendants, between 7 and 9 years in prison, that federal prosecutors had requested, the Miami Herald said.
In making this decision, the US judge took into account that Moreno Rivera had already been sentenced in his country for using his position to extort political personalities under investigation, the newspaper said.
In addition to the four years in prison of the former Colombian prosecutor, his lawyer was sentenced to 24 months in prison, the prosecution said in a statement.
Moreno Rivera and Pinilla Gómez were indicted in August 2017 by the South Florida District Attorney’s Office for “electronic fraud, conspiracy to commit electronic fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to launder money in order to promote bribery abroad”, in facts occurred in Miami.
Moreno and Pinilla, extradited from Colombia to the US in May 2018, they fell into the hands of the US authorities with the help of the ex-governor of Córdoba (Colombia) Alejandro Lyons, who is investigated for corruption in his country during his term, between 2012 and 2015, but fled to the United States, where he decided collaborate with the Justice, which allowed the capture of Moreno.
Lyons, whom the Prosecutor’s Office identifies only as “a cooperating source”, agreed with Moreno and Pinilla at the end of 2016 to receive copies of sworn statements from witnesses against him in exchange for some $ 33,000 (100 million Colombian pesos), according to the US Attorney’s Office
In June of 2017 Moreno and Pinilla met in Miami with the “source”, who secretly, under the direction of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), gave both of them an advance on the bribe.
Moreno argued in recorded conversations about his ability to control the investigation and flood his prosecutors with work to prevent them from focusing on the investigation of the “source.”
In exchange, both requested about 134,000 dollars (400 million Colombian pesos), with an additional payment of 30,000 dollars before Moreno left the United States.
The criminal complaint also alleges that several $ 100 bills of deposit were found in the hands of Moreno and his companions when boarding a flight back to Bogota from Miami.
In Colombia, the ex-prosecutor and his lawyer were arrested in response to a red Interpol alert.