Cayman businessman Jeffrey Webb faces up to a 20-year sentence, possible deportation and additional fines in exchange for his November guilty plea to racketeering and fraud-related charges in connection with the ongoing FIFA probe in the U.S.
According to transcripts of court testimony from the Nov. 23, 2015 plea, which were released last week, U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Dearie noted that “removal” – deportation – from the U.S. would be a “likely” consequence of the guilty plea, but that the matter was largely out of the court’s hands.
“[Deportation] is not a decision that I make,” Judge Dearie said during plea proceedings, which were released in heavily redacted form following a request from U.S. news agency Bloomberg. In addition to Webb’s plea hearing, transcripts for similar hearings related to FIFA defendants Alejandro Burzaco and Jose Margulies were also partially released.
“It is a decision made by other authorities, immigration folks,” the judge continued, speaking to Webb and his attorney Edward O’Callaghan. “I bring it to your attention because it is a likely consequence of your conviction.”
Cayman Islands resident Webb pleaded guilty in November to racketeering, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, a total of seven criminal counts in the FIFA indictment, a case which now involves more than 40 former high-ranking officials in world football’s governing body.
Webb, a former FIFA vice president, is accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for awarding commercialization rights for certain football tournaments in the region. His sentencing is set for June 3.
“I … abused my position of trust … by embezzling funds intended for the benefit of football organizations that I represented and by soliciting and accepting bribes and kickbacks related to other agreements between, for example, CONCACAF [FIFA’s regional office for North and Central America and the Caribbean] and third party vendors, for services and equipment,” Webb said during the sentencing. “I deeply regret my participation in this illegal conduct.”
It is likely that Webb will receive a reduced sentence in exchange for his cooperation with U.S. federal prosecutors in the FIFA investigation, but details of those arrangements were not disclosed in the court transcripts released last week.
A 21-page plea agreement Webb signed was not released as part of the court records.
Webb has a right to appeal the sentence if he feels the court’s decision on June 3 to be “unreasonable.”
Judge Dearie pointed out that Webb also faces additional fines totaling US$500,000, or an amount equaling half of the proceeds he received from the criminal enterprise, in addition to the US$6.8 million he has already agreed to forfeit in relation to the case.
“I’m not sure what the government’s thought are on that, but I have little, if any, discretion with respect to restitution,” the judge said.
As far as Webb’s current situation in the U.S., court transcripts reveal that – while he is on court-supervised release – he is currently the sole caregiver for his 2-year-old child whom he has with his wife, Atlanta-area doctor Kendra Gamble-Webb.
During the proceedings, Mr. O’Callaghan asked the court to vary Webb’s supervised release conditions to allow him to care for the boy while his wife is at work. The court agreed that Webb could leave his Loganville, Georgia home for the purpose of “running errands” for the child.
“Don’t abuse that privilege,” the court warned.