Angola Deal Helps Land Men in Florida Prison

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(Rapaport…April 18, 2005) The Federal District court in Miami, Florida, sentenced two men to prison after they entered guilty pleas involving conflict diamonds, money laundering, and illegal drug-sales.

U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan sentenced former African Christian Relief executive director Charles Williams to five years three months in prison plus fines. Co-defendant William Walker was sentenced to six years five months plus fines. Both men will have supervised release for three additional years, and must pay $1.8 million in restitution to the pharmacy company they cheated. Two other co-conspirators remain at large.

Williams, 49, headed the charitable organization in Tucson, Arizona, and federal authorities tied him back to, along with three others, an Angola conflict diamond deal — as well as other illegal activities involving donations.

The charity was formed in 1992 to donate medical supplies to needy people in Africa. Williams purchased discounted drugs to send to Angola, but the drugs were instead sold in the United States at a profit of $2 million. Schein Pharmaceutical Inc., of New Jersey, reported suspicious activity to the Food and Drug Administration, which launched the investigation.

Some money from the illegal resale of the drugs went instead to fund a diamond concession with Angola. One shipment of diamonds was delivered, but brokers involved found the prices much less than they were advertised.

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