Wegelin & Co, corporate headquarters, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
Wegelin & Co., the 270-year-old Swiss bank facing criminal charges in a U.S. crackdown on firms suspected of aiding tax evasion, failed to appear at a court hearing as prosecutors called the bank a “fugitive.”
Prosecutors said after the hearing…in Manhattan federal court that three Wegelin client managers charged in the case also failed to appear and were considered fugitives.
When no defendants or defense attorneys showed up in court, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff asked prosecutors for a proposal on how to proceed. Prosecutors said they will confer with the Justice Department and advise Rakoff on their proposals. “Unlike an individual, arresting a company is somewhat difficult,” Rakoff said…
Wegelin is the first overseas bank to be indicted by the U.S. for aiding tax fraud, federal prosecutors in New York said this month. The three Wegelin client managers at the Zurich branch, Michael Berlinka, Urs Frei and Roger Keller, were also indicted.
The managers serviced “undeclared accounts” for U.S. taxpayers, meaning the income derived from them wasn’t reported to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, according to the superseding indictment filed this month.
Nothing new about international bankers considering themselves above the law. Especially when an historic function of their services is aiding their clients in defrauding the tax departments of one or another government.
For the first time in modern history we have a Department of Justice that actively seeks to repatriate the funds hidden abroad – instead of just relying on the crooks for fundraising.
An Australian woman is suing the nation’s top four banks for their alleged role in laundering money from her teenage son’s $200,000 eBay scam that afforded him a $6,000-a-day playboy lifestyle.
Australian media reported that in 2007, the then 14 year old boy was making so much money selling non-existent laptops, mobile phones and watches on eBay he could afford to book a $4300-a-night penthouses overlooking Sydney Harbour, fly friends interstate for lavish parties and hire limousines to take him to the beach…
Reports said she was seeking an apology from the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac and NAB for ”unconscionable conduct” after allegedly allowing her son to open numerous bank accounts with debit cards “without reasonable scrutiny”.
She claims the banks ignored her or refused to discuss the matter for privacy reasons when she warned them they had issued accounts that were being used by a minor to bank illegal funds, reports said.
”He was an intelligent boy who worked out how to cheat the system and play it for all it was worth,” she told Australia’s Sun Herald newspaper. ”As his parent and legal guardian, I begged the banks to stop giving him accounts and debit cards but each time I got nowhere because of the Privacy Act…”
Police eventually arrested the boy at school after many of the frauds were linked to an IP address attached to a classroom computer.
Reports said that during the past four years, she had reluctantly handed her son to the police 15 times.
Sounds like banks in Oz would have been happy to help out Bernie Madoff given half a chance.
Go for it, Mom. Make them own up for their scandalous lack of standards.
Stole from his “father figure”
Medicare and Social Security didn’t seem to be enough for one 76-year-old New Yorker: He confessed he swindled nearly $400,000 from his 98-year-old victim.
New York businessman Harry Abrams was ordered Thursday to pay $388,063.75 in restitution and sentenced to weekends in jail for a year after being caught forging checks and transferring thousands of dollars from accounts held by a man who Abrams said was “like a father” to him, said district attorney’s office spokeswoman Joan Vollero.
His victim was a 98-year-old, semi-retired lawyer, Emanuel Baetich, according to law enforcement sources.
Abrams pleaded guilty to all charges, which included grand larceny, forgery and money laundering, Vollero said. He carried out his complex scheme to fleece his friend while Baetich was hospitalized during 2009 and 2010, said Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Loewy, who heads the office’s Elder Abuse Unit. Abrams allowed Baetich to work from his office in Midtown Manhattan free of charge, she added, since the two had been friends for years.
Abrams used the stolen money to fund his failing companies, a vacation to Puerto Rico and other expenses such as shopping sprees at Costco, Lands’ End and trips to Jenny Craig, according to a statement released by the district attorney’s office after Abrams was arrested in November.
You trust your friends; but, you cut the cards.
A Mesa minister with a worldwide following has been arrested on charges that he orchestrated a $5.5 million mortgage-fraud scheme involving nearly a dozen Valley homes.
Clint Rogers and his wife, Angela Faith Rogers, were indicted this month by a federal grand jury that accused them of conspiring with three others to inflate the value of homes, obtain loans on the bloated price and then pocket the difference.
“They are the leaders,” said Patrick Cunningham, chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Arizona. “They got $2.5 million in alleged cash back. That is a tremendously high number.”
The couple’s home purchases were detailed in a 2009 investigation by The Arizona Republic, which found that they bought 26 homes in less than two years and that nearly all of them went into foreclosure…
Clint Rogers, head of Mesa-based Clint Rogers Ministries, conducts faith-healing events and other services at churches throughout the U.S., Africa, Asia, Europe and elsewhere.
According to the indictment, the ministry was used to launder money from the bogus real-estate transactions…
They obtained a total of $5.5 million in financing and in five months directed about $2.5 million of it into their own accounts, according to the indictment.
Good thing they’re Christian crooks. They’re guaranteed forgiveness and salvation. Right?
Meanwhile, they’ll find lots to keep them busy with faith healing in the slammer.
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission
Former House of Representatives Republican Leader Tom DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday after a jury found him guilty of money laundering and conspiracy.
Senior Judge Pat Priest sentenced DeLay, 63, to a five-year sentence for money laundering and three years for conspiracy for a scheme to illegally funnel money to Republican Texas candidates in 2002.
The judge allowed DeLay to serve 10 years probation in lieu of the five-year term, but ordered him to serve the three-year term with no probation.
Due to a potentially lengthy appeals process, it could be years before DeLay serves time, prosecutor Gary Cobb said.
Golly. There’s a surprise. The judicial system helping keep a pol out of prison.
DeLay, dubbed “The Hammer” for his hard-driving style, was found guilty on November 24 of conspiring to illegally funnel $190,000 in corporate campaign donations to Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature in the 2002 elections…
“Corporate contributions are illegal in Texas, and you can’t give them to candidates directly and you can’t give them to candidates indirectly,” Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said.
Republican hacks and their Supreme Court flunkies are working hard to change that, nationwide.
The Vatican will announce new rules to combat financial crime on Thursday as it continues to deal with a money-laundering probe that has seen 23 million euros frozen from its banking institution.
The Vatican said in a statement on Wednesday that Pope Benedict would issue a so-called apostolic letter on combating financial crime, money laundering and the funding of terrorism. The Holy See would create a financial information authority.
The Vatican bank, formally known as the Institution for Religious Works (IOR), has been under investigation for suspected violations of European Union money laundering rules since September. It denies any wrongdoing…
Finance police have frozen 23 million euros of the IOR’s funds held in an account in an Italian bank in Rome after authorities deemed that two transactions were suspicious.
Oh – the rule?
Thou shalt not hire crooks to run the bank!
A Travis County jury today found former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay guilty of political money laundering charges relating to a corporate money swap in the 2002 elections.
The verdict came down five years after DeLay was forced to step down as the second most powerful Republican in the U.S. House. The charges also led DeLay to resign from his Sugar Land congressional seat in 2006.
DeLay was accused of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. On the conspiracy charge, DeLay faces a sentence of two to 20 years in prison and five to 99 years or life in prison on the money laundering count…
At the center of the case against DeLay was an exchange of $190,000 in corporate donations to TRMPAC for an equal amount of money donated by individuals to the Republican National Committee. The RNC money was given to seven Texas candidates specified by TRMPAC.
Corporate money cannot be used in candidate campaigns in Texas.
Not that it’s a problem any longer in national elections – thanks to the Republican/Roberts Supreme Court.
Still, it’s nice to a little corruption recognized for the slime and crime that it is.
The Republican Flag
Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer has been charged with six felony counts for allegedly directing state party funds to his consulting company, which then paid him.
Greer, 47, faces one count of organized fraud, four counts of grand theft and one count of money laundering, prosecutor Bill Shepherd said.
Greer left the post in February after a chorus of state Republican leaders and donors raised questions about his leadership and management of party funds.
Someone didn’t get their share.
Governor Crist, asked about the arrest during a news conference about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, said it was “obviously disappointing and surprising.”
“I have faith in our judicial system,” Crist said. “I know they will handle it appropriately.”
Prosecutors accused Greer of steering $199,254 in state party money to Victory Strategies, a company he set up with former state Republican Party Executive Director Delmar Johnson.
Victory Strategies, which paid Greer $125,161, was given “a large amount for services that were never performed” by the company, prosecutors alleged.
Family values triumphs, once again.
This is the schmuck who got his national 15 minutes of fame – defaming the president for telling school kids to work hard and stay in school. He got his lying face all over the airwaves!
“Socialist indoctrination” – my aunt Petunia’s polkadot knickers.
Police in Britain, Spain and the Republic of Ireland have arrested 32 people in raids against an alleged major international criminal group.
Among those detained is Christy Kinahan, dubbed the “Irish godfather”, who is accused of leading the group. The Irish-born Briton, 53, was arrested with his sons in Malaga, Spain.
The network is suspected of trafficking large quantities of drugs and firearms, and of laundering hundreds of millions of pounds, UK officials said.
Twenty people were arrested in Spain, 11 in the UK, and one in Ireland…
Some 750 police officers were involved in the raids, which were co-ordinated from London, Dublin and Malaga.
Officers also searched property in Belgium, Cyprus and Brazil.
Spanish police arrested Mr Kinahan together with his family, other British and Irish suspects and four Spanish lawyers.
OK. I’ll leave off a lawyers joke.
The former governor of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo has appeared in court in New York charged with plotting to import cocaine and money laundering.
On Sunday, Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid became the most senior Mexican politician to be extradited to the US on drugs charges. He allegedly helped the Juarez cartel smuggle hundreds of tons of cocaine from Colombia through Mexico to the US.
US prosecutor Preet Bharara has accused him of turning Quintana Roo “into a virtual narco-state, selling its infrastructure and even its police to one of the world’s most dangerous mafia enterprises”.
Mr Villanueva was sentenced to six years in prison in Mexico for money laundering in 2001. He was released in 2007, but re-arrested immediately when the US requested his extradition.
Send some of his corrupt fellow politicians along to keep him company.