Hencorp Becstone Capital in Miami has agreed to pay $3.8 million to settle allegations that it provided inaccurate statements and claims to the Export-Import Bank.
The Ex-Im Bank guarantees loans made by approved lenders to foreign businesses for the purchase of American-made products. The lender is responsible to perform a credit review of completed transactions to ensure they meet regulatory guidelines.
Ricardo Menza, a former business agent at Hencorp, created false documentation to obtain Ex-Im Bank loan guarantees on fictitious transactions in which no products were sold or exported, the Justice Department said in a press release Thursday,. The Justice Department said Hencorp "acted recklessly" because it outsourced important credit review responsibilities to Maza without proper oversight.
The federal government alleged that Maza diverted the loan proceeds to himself, friends and business associates in Peru. Meanwhile, the Ex-Im Bank suffered losses because the loans were never repaid.
Mario Mimbella, a U.S. exporter on three of the fraudulent transactions, served a six-month prison sentence in 2012 for participating in the scheme.
The settlement resolves claims made in a whistleblower lawsuit by Genaro Caballero, the former owner of one of the alleged purchasers involved in this scam. Caballero claimed in the lawsuit that his signature, along with that of his former attorney Patricia Dominquez, were forged on documents without their knowledge.
The whistleblowers will receive $608,000 as part of the settlement, the Justice Department said.