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Export-Import Bank lender settles False Claims Act allegations for $3.8 million

March 13th, 2015 | No Comments

On March 12, the Department of Justice announced that Miami-based Hencorp Becstone Capital, LC had agreed to pay $3.8 million to settle civil charges, brought by two whistleblowers, that the firm submitted false documents for government-guaranteed loans.

The Justice Department announced today that Hencorp Becstone Capital L.C. (Hencorp) has agreed to pay $3.8 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that it made false statements and claims to the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) in order to obtain loan guarantees.  Hencorp is a Miami-based lender and financial services company that provides financing and other financial services to Latin American businesses.

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The Ex-Im Bank guarantees loans made by approved lenders to foreign businesses for the purchase of American-made products.  The lender is responsible for performing a credit review of the transaction to ensure that it meets applicable criteria.  The government alleged that Ricardo Maza, a Peruvian-based former Hencorp business agent, created false documentation to obtain Ex-Im Bank guarantees on fictitious transactions on which no products were sold or exported, and that Hencorp acted recklessly by outsourcing key credit review functions to Maza without adequate supervision or oversight.  The government alleged that Maza then diverted the proceeds of the loans to himself and to his friends and business associates in Peru, and that the transactions resulted in losses to the Ex-Im Bank when the loans were not repaid.  In 2012, Mario Mimbella, 64, of Miami, Florida, the purported U.S.-based exporter on three of the fraudulent transactions, pled guilty to making false records for his participation in the scheme and was later sentenced to prison.

The government announced that the whistleblowers – a former owner and former attorney for one of the purported purchasers – will receive $608,000 of the settlement (a 16% relator’s share).

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