Digicel, one of Haiti’s most popular telecom providers, recently filed suit against a U.S. corporation, UPM. The relevant facts excerpted from the February 3, 2016 court order are as follows:
Digicel operates telephone switching systems in Miami, Florida, and New York City, New York, that route international calls from third-party providers (such as AT&T and Verizon) to Digicel customers in Haiti. The switching systems use an international gateway that allows Digicel to manage call routing and account for any billing and associated regulatory charges. Under Haitian law, international telephone carriers must charge at least 23 cents per minute for international calls terminating in Haiti. Accordingly, Digicel charges third-party providers at least 23 cents per minute to route international calls to Digicel customers in Haiti. UPM is an Oregon corporation that offers to route international calls to Haiti at lower rates than Digicel. UPM does so by purchasing large quantities of pre-paid Digicel Subscriber Identity Module (“SIM”) cards4 in Haiti, shipping the cards to UPM’s operations in Oregon, and incorporating the cards into a system connected to the internet. Digicel alleges that UPM sends money by international wire to its agents in Haiti for the purchase of Digicel SIM cards. According to Digicel, shipping documents show that agents shipped Digicel SIM cards from Haiti to Oregon, addressed to Defendant Benjamin Sanchez (“Sanchez”), Owner of UPM Marketing and President of UPM Telecom, and Defendant Tyler Allen (“Allen”), who is also affiliated with UPM. Customer forms also show that Defendant Baltazar Ruiz (“Ruiz”), Project Manager of UPM Telecom, shipped computer equipment to Haiti. Digicel asserts that Ruiz provided laptops, internet routers, and generators to co-conspirators in Haiti to facilitate UPM’s operations.
Unigestion Holding, S.A., UPM Technology Inc., No. 3:15-cv-00185-SI, 2016 WL 427068, at *2 (D. Or. filed Feb. 3, 2016). Digicel has alleged that UPM has engaged in about seven different prohibited acts, including the mail and wire fraud predicates to RICO and unjust enrichment. Two of the claims alleged against UPM were dismissed by a district court in Oregon, pursuant to a motion to dismiss filed by Digicel. Five claims remain.
Magdala is a second-year law student at the University of Illinois College of Law. She is the first generation of her family to be born in the United States!