Brett M. Pfeffer, former legislative aide to U.S. Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Jan. 11 to conspiracy to commit bribery and aiding and abetting the bribery of a public official.
Pfeffer, 37 of Herndon, faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced March 31 in Alexandria. Pfeffer has agreed to cooperate with the federal government regarding the case.
During his 55-minute hearing last week, Pfeffer told U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III his role in the conspiracy, which involved a McLean firm’s investment in high-speed internet and cable television services in Nigeria and Ghana.
"The congressman told me of a business opportunity in Nigeria," Pfeffer said. "I took that to a woman I worked for. … She decided to invest in that opportunity."
Pfeffer, who was employed by Jefferson from 1995 to 1998, became president of an investment company based in McLean in 2004. That company was "controlled by an individual who later became a cooperating witness for the government," according to the statement of facts Pfeffer signed in court on Jan. 11.
Pfeffer researched and sought investment opportunities for the McLean company and received a percentage of any profits generated by his work, according to the court documents.
When Pfeffer told Jefferson — listed as "Representative A" in court documents — about his new job, "Representative A told Pfeffer about a Kentucky-based company that held the rights to a technology that enabled copper wires to transport high-speed internet and broadband services to a wide array of consumers," according to the court documents.
Pfeffer introduced the cooperating witness from McLean to the congressman and to the founder of the Kentucky-based company, which planned to provide broadband services to Nigerians over the copper wire telephone line operated by the Nigerian Telephone Company. Following these meetings, according to court documents, the cooperating witness' company "agreed to invest approximately $45 million for the exclusive right to use the Kentucky-based company's technology and equipment to support the Nigerian Deal."
After the witness agreed to invest, Jefferson said that a member of his family should perform the legal work for the deal, being paid five to seven percent of the newly formed company, according to court documents.
"Pfeffer understood that Representative A was soliciting a bribe in exchange for Representative A's official assistance in furthering the Nigerian deal," according to the statement of facts signed by Pfeffer.
<1b>— Ken Moore