30 April 2015

Boye pleads guilty -- must repay TL $3.5 million

On 28 April 2015, former Ministry of Finance petroleum tax adviser Bobby Boye admitted in U.S. Federal Court that he conspired to defraud Timor-Leste of $3.51 million in 2012. Boye, who could receive up to 20 years in prison, will be sentenced on 13 August.  More information about his crimes, his false background, and his long history of nefarious activities is on La'o Hamutuk's website.

Boye was arrested in New Jersey, USA in June 2014 and has been under house arrest while prosecutors and defense attorneys negotiated the plea bargain. Last November, he fired his private attorney and obtained a taxpayer-paid lawyer due to his "financial inability." Public Defender K. Anthony Thomas represented Boye through the plea agreement in which Bobby Boye admitted the charges and promised to repay Timor-Leste.

On 28 April, Boye applied to the Court for permission to enter a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. After Boye's formal waiver of his rights to indictment and trial, he pled guilty in a 40-minute hearing before Judge Freda L. Wolfson, as described in an FBI press release.

The ten pages of accusations, which Boye agreed to, describes his work in Timor-Leste, including creation of the sham "established, multinational law and accounting firm" Opus & Best, of which Boye was the sole member. It says that in 2012-2013, Boye "did knowingly and intentionally conspire and agree with others, known and unknown, to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud [Timor-Leste] by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises ...".  Their objective was "for defendant BOYE and others to enrich themselves by fraudulently obtaining lucrative consulting contracts from [Timor-Leste]." No co-conspirators in Timor-Leste are mentioned.

Boye "caused" his (now ex-)wife Ediltruda Kalikawes (who is not named or charged) "to create Opus & Best email accounts, including one for a purported partner" 'Dominic Lucas' (also not named or charged -- it's unclear if he actually exists).  O&B's bids for contracts with Timor-Leste "contained a number of false statements and material representations that were intended to give [Timor-Leste] the misimpression that Opus & Best was a legitimate, established firm" operating in several continents for many years with "first class talent of attorneys, accountants and economists."

However, the prosecutor writes, "In reality, defendant BOYE created Opus & Best for the purpose of submitting the fraudulent Bid Documents. Moreover, Opus & Best employed no one other than defendant BOYE..."  Boye also "paid his [wife] to create a website for Opus & Best which contained numerous misrepresentations ..."  Boye "exploited his membership on the Bid Review Committee" to "steer" contracts to Opus & Best and then caused Timor-Leste to wire $3,510,000 to Boye's bank account from June to December 2012.

In April 2013, Boye tried to get $250,000 more from Timor-Leste for "Opus & Best Hong Kong."  [Timor-Leste] did not accept the proposal, and defendant BOYE left [Timor-Leste] shortly thereafter." At the end of May, 'Dominic Lucas' unsuccessfully invoiced Timor-Leste for a $630,000 "final payment."

The prosecutor describes how "BOYE diverted" the $3.5 million wired by Timor-Leste to Opus & Best "for his own personal use," including purchase of four properties, three luxury cars and two designer watches.  As part of the plea bargain, Boye will forfeit these properties, cars and watches, as well as "$4,233,015.42, representing the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the offense of conviction."

Boye admits one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to twice the amount of either his ill-gotten gains or the victims' losses, whichever is greater.  "In addition, BOBBY BOYE agrees to make full restitution for all losses resulting from the offense of conviction or from the scheme, conspiracy, or pattern of criminal activity underlying the offense, to [Timor-Leste] in the amount of $3,510,000."

La'o Hamutuk believes that the "pattern of criminal activity underlying the offense" could include payments to Boye for jobs he obtained here under false pretenses. Furthermore, if some of the tax assessments he initiated against oil companies turn out not to be valid, Timor-Leste's legal and other expenditures for them could also be part of this pattern, including interest and/or legal costs that the arbitration panel could order Timor-Leste to pay to the oil companies. Boye may have initiated these cases as part of his confidence game to ingratiate himself with Timorese leaders, knowing that the companies were likely to pay and then appeal. These losses could add up to much more than $3.51 million, and Boye should be ordered to pay all of them.  The Plea Agreement does not prevent further administrative or civil cases -- we wonder if Boye will be disbarred from legal practice or if Timor-Leste will file a civil suit against him.

Although the crime of conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a 20-year maximum sentence, the plea agreement grades it as "offense level 24" under the Sentencing Guidelines, giving him credit for "accepting responsibility." According to the Sentencing Table, and depending on whether Boye's 2006 guilty plea is considered, he could serve 4-6 years, which a judge will decide on 15 October.

La'o Hamutuk's web page on the Bobby Boye case has much more information, and is updated regularly. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Cant be barred from legal practice when he wasn't even a lawyer.
    Deserves to spend a considerable time in jail.