Columbian woman, arrested at airport, pleads guilty to defrauding Ex-Im Bank

by bvernia | November 24th, 2009

DOJ announced on November 23 that Febe Durango-Rueda, a Columbian national, pleaded guilty to a scheme to defraud the Export-Import Bank of the US. The Ex-Im Bank provides loan guarantees to foreign entities for the purchase of US-made goods and services. According to DOJ’s press release:

According to plea documents, Durango was the president of Droservicios Ltda., a Colombian medical services company. Durango admitted that she and others falsified financial statements that Droservicios submitted to the Ex-Im Bank in support of a loan guarantee for a deal worth more than $1.3 million.

Specifically, Durango and others applied for an Ex-Im Bank loan guarantee that purported to be for the purpose of increasing Droservicios’s leasing services of specialized medical equipment to public health institutions. According to the application, the specialized medical equipment was to include a CT scanner and mammography unit as well as other medical imaging equipment. Durango admitted that she and others then shipped medical equipment of a much lesser value than the specialized medical equipment that was the basis for the Ex-Im Bank guaranteed loan and fabricated invoices to fraudulently reflect that the specialized medical equipment was purchased and shipped. Durango admitted that she and others shared the difference in the loan amount and the purchase price of the less valuable medical equipment that was actually purchased and shipped. According to court documents, Durango and others then allowed the loan to default, triggering the Ex-Im Bank’s obligation to cover the debt. The Ex-Im Bank, without knowing of the fraud committed by Durango and others, paid more than $1.3 million to satisfy the guarantee.

Durango is set to be sentenced on February 4, 2010. DOJ Criminal Division Fraud Section trial attorneys Nicole Sprinzen and Brigham Cannon handled the case for the US.

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