The Justice Department announced Thursday that it was charging five people with money laundering in connection with an alleged Venezuela bribery scheme.
The big picture: The five people charged allegedly bribed Venezuelan government officials to obtain contracts to import and distribute food and medicine through a state-run program known as CLAP, according to the DOJ.
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The defendants and their co-conspirators "knowingly inflated the costs of the contracts to pay the bribes and unjustly enrich themselves," the DOJ said.
They allegedly received nearly $1.6 million from the Republic of Venezuela and transferred nearly $180 million through or to the United States, according to the DOJ.
Details: The five include three Colombian nationals — Alvaro Pulido Vargas, Carlos Rolando Lizcano Manrique and Emmanuel Enrique Rubio Gonzalez — as well as two Venezuelan nationals — Jose Gregorio Vielma-Mora and Ana Guillermo Luis.
Each person is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and four counts of money laundering.
If convicted, they each face a maximum of 100 years in prison, according to the DOJ's statement.
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