Miami lender settles Ex-Im Bank suit for $3.8M

Miami-based financial services company Hencorp Becstone Capital has settled a 2013 lawsuit for $3.8 million, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday.

The lawsuit, initiated by private citizens, alleged the company made false statements to secure loan guarantees from the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

These whistleblowers sued under the False Claims Act, which allows citizens to sue on behalf of the government and share in any recovery. The will receive $608,000 of the settlement and and $100,000 from Hencorp to cover attorney’s fees, costs and expenses.

Hencorp agreed to the settlement without admitting liability on Feb. 26.

The suit alleged that Hencorp used false documentation to induce the Ex-Im Bank to issue loan guarantees for ineligible or false transactions that resulted in claims paid by the bank. Hencorp reportedly used the false documents to obtain Ex-Im guarantees on goods and equipment purchased by Peruvian entities between September 2004 and March 2010. Ex-Im paid claims between October 2008 and September 2013, according to the settlement agreement.

Peruvian-based Ricardo Maza, a former Hencorp business agent, reportedly created the false documentation and Hencorp did not adequately supervise Maza, according to the Justice Department. Maza allegedly directed the paid claims from the Ex-Im loans to himself and his friends.

“Lenders that use Ex-Im programs have an obligation to prevent and detect fraud,” said Acting Inspector General Michael T. McCarthy of the Ex-Im Bank in a news release. “The Office of Inspector General will pursue accountability for all participants involved in schemes that defraud the Ex-Im Bank.”

Miami-resident Mario Mimbella, the alleged exporter of the fraudulent transactions, pleaded guilty to making false records, according to the Justice Department. Mimbella was sentenced to time in prison for six months.

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