Wednesday, July 30, 2014

HEARING FOR ARRESTED RUSSIAN CREDIT CARD HACKER IN GUAM POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER EMERGENCY


If you were wondering why there has not been any news regarding the July 30th hearing, in US District Court in Guam, of Roman Seleznev, the arrested Russian stolen credit card number hacker, the Court was forced to postpone the hearing, due to Tropical Storm Halong.

Russian media have been focusing on this case, because the defendant was apparently on holiday in the Maldive Islands, and he was reportedly taken into custody by US law enforcement agents, and transported to Guam, the closest United States territory. There was no formal extradition hearing conducted in the Maldives, and Seleznev's Guamanian attorneys are demanding his release forthwith, upon the grounds of serious governmental misconduct.

HSBC, CITING LACK OF "RISK APPETITE," TO CLOSE MUSLIM BANK ACCOUNTS IN UK


HSBC, which has had regulatory problems in the recent past, has notified Muslim account holders that it will be closing their accounts; the stated reason was that the provisions of banking services to these clients "fall outside out Risk appetite," meaning that the bank has judged the risk level too high to continue them as customers.

The types of businesses that have received these letters:

(1) Mosques.
(2) Muslim charities.
(3) NGOs serving Muslim needs.
(4) Muslim think tanks.
(5) Individual Muslims.

Will other UK bank follow suit ? Will civil suits by the affected account holders follow, even though the maintenance of bank accounts is a matter of contract,and is considered a privilege, and not a right ? we cannot say, but we will be monitoring the response of other retail UK financial institutions to this development.

APPEALS COURT AFFIRMS $67m JUDGEMENT AGAINST TD BANK IN ROTHSTEIN PONZI SCHEME


The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the $67m District Court judgment against TD Bank, for its role in facilitating the Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein, and for illegally concealing the truth during the discovery phase of the case.

The plaintiff, Coquina Investments, was originally awarded $32m in compensatory damages, and $35m in punitive damages. The trial judge found that the bank, concealed, or lied about:

(1)  Internal AML alerts on Rothstein bank accounts.
(2) The existence of Special Investigative Protocols.
(3) The removal of a banner designating the Rothstein accounts "High Risk.
(4( Internal emails discussing the bank's bogus "lock letters,' which alleged substantial TD accounts held restricted funds, when there was no money in those accounts.

The discovery violations were the most shocking aspect of the case, as the bank's unethical conduct, in seeking to conceal the truth about its role, demonstrates a lack of ethics, and an arrogant disrespect for the court system. The punishment, $35m in punitive damages, sends a strong message to the banking community, and its lawyers, that this will not stand.




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SENTENCING OF BILLION DOLLAR LIFE SETTLEMENTS PONZI SCHEMER RESCHEDULED


The District Judge assigned to $1bn Ponzi schemer Joel Steinger's criminal cases has rescheduled his sentencing, due to the fact that Steinger, who is, for all intents and purposes, disabled, due to a chronic back problem, housed in a Florida hospital. Apparently, the defendant's unit manager failed to timely deliver the Pre-Sentence Investigation Report (PSIR) to him.

Steinger, and his counsel, were therefore unable to prepare any objections. His counsel asked the Court for an additional 30 days, from the original July 18th date. The sentencing has been reset for August 22nd, at 9 AM. Victims of the life settlement Ponzi scheme have been waiting for a decade for justice, and this is a case set for sentencing of the firm's principal owner first for June, then July, and now August. It was filed way back in 2008. The fact that a US government employee failed to deliver a critical sentencing document on time exposes the fact that the Ponzi scheme imploded in 2004, and the case is old news, with a low priority. The victims, especially those who lost their entire life savings, deserve better. 

AFFLUENT CHINESE MOVING THEIR UNTAXED WEALTH INTO US EMPLOY COMPLEX SCHEMES



Money laundering of funds that wealthy Chinese nationals do not want to pay taxes on, and which may be criminal proceed specifically bribes ands kickbacks, is being blamed for the rise in US urban real estate prices. Corrupt Chinese PEPs, who have a well-founded fear that their government will seize any domestically-banked assets, export their dirty cash, either through wire transfers done through cooperating bankers, bulk cash smuggling overseas, or placing the cash into a corrupt casino, and taking it out as "profits."

Complex money laundering pipelines are becoming commonplace, to the extent that I noticed this specific diagram in the press. It speaks volumes about how effective non-transparent schemes are being used by all:

Purchasing real estate in the United States

(A) Through a US trust...
(B) managed by a shell corporation from the Cayman Islands...
(C) with a bank account in Luxembourg...
(D) managed by a Swiss banker who does not know who the beneficial owner is.

I would hope that any compliance officer who sees this type of obviously opaque transaction will act accordingly.






Monday, July 28, 2014

POLICE LIEUTENANT WHO DID DIRTY WORK FOR PONZI SCHEMER SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS

First jail photo for former Police Lieutanant

The fallout from a billion dollar Ponzi scheme in Florida continues.A Lieutenant in the Broward County, Florida Sheriff's office, who used his badge to conduct a false arrest, and also to cause an individual to leave Florida, all on the orders of convicted Ponzi Schemer/lawyer Scott Rothstein, was sentenced to five years in prison.

Lt. David Benjamin, who did Scott Rothstein's dirty work, and ordered subordinates on the police force to violate the civil rights of individuals that Rothstein deemed a threat, was immediately taken into custody, to commence serving his sentence. His lawyer's bid for a short sentence, and a delayed surrender date, were denied. While the Federal Prison system will most likely place him in a minimum security institution, and may may conceal his identity, to protect him from inmates who might cause him harm, due to his occupation, he will be required to serve 80% of his sentence, before he can be eligible for release, and his conviction ends his law enforcement career.

The Lieutenant in uniform

 The Court has hammered a number of individuals involved in Scott Rothstein's Ponzi scheme, and there are reportedly other individuals under investigation.

ARUBA RELEASES WANTED VENEZUELAN DRUG TRAFFICKER AND TERRORIST FACILITATOR



Giving in to pressure from Venezuela,The Dutch Government in Aruba has released General Hugo Carvajal from custody. He had been arrested upon his arrival, as the United States has indicted him on major drug trafficking charges. Carvajal, who is on the OFAC sanctions list, then returned to Caracas. He had not been formally accepted as a diplomat when he was arrested in Aruba.

Originally, the authorities in Aruba had ruled that he was being legally detained for extradition, but reversed themselves after Venezuelan protests. Did Aruba cave in, under political pressure from Caracas ? We cannot say, but I am sure that the US Department of Justice is not happy; allowing a known drug kingpin to be released does not help the global war on drugs.