Hiding assets via jewelry or other portable valuable commodities and former Turks & Caicos premier Michael Misick:

  1. On the trail of Michael Mastro: how to flee the law when you are 87” is about Michael & Linda Mastro.  These two might have secretly transferred bankruptcy estate assets by shipping a Range Rover full of jewelry, (i.e. portable valuable commodities), to Lisbon.  The post “Secreting Assets Without A Border Trace” similarly describes the fact pattern of a Ponzi schemer who had conceivably concealed diamonds by traveling as an airline passenger from the U.S. to Zurich, Switzerland.
  2. The April 21, 2012 Asset Search News Roundup states that former Turks & Caicos premier Michael Misick was the subject of an arrest warrant, reportedly over alleged corruption and supposed money laundering.  This past June 30th, the Turks & Caicos Weekly News published “Mike Misick Fighting Extradition.”   It discusses Misick’s April 13, 2013 re-arrest in Brazil and the effort to extradite him to the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Copyright 2013 Fred L. Abrams

This Asset Search News Roundup reports on Michael and Linda Mastro’s supposed concealment of two diamond rings-

The October 25, 2012 indictment of Michael Mastro and his wife Linda, alleges violations of money laundering and bankruptcy fraud laws.  Among other things, the indictment accuses the Mastros of fraudulently hiding portable valuable commodities, such as a platinum ring with a 27.80 carat pear shape diamond and one 14 karat white gold ring with a 15.93 carat round diamond.

These rings might have been parked offshore, as suggested by “Mastros’ $1.4M diamonds now reportedly in France.”  According to page 15, ¶44 of the October 25th indictment, Linda Mastro falsely testified during her March 24, 2010 deposition, about the whereabouts of the rings.  At the deposition, Linda Mastro stated she brought the rings to Italy on or about November 2009.  As page 33, lines 15-25 of the deposition transcript show, Linda Mastro too asserted she could not recall if she left the rings in Italy:

(Click Above To Read The Entire Deposition Transcript)

Copyright 2012 Fred L. Abrams

The U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations August 1, 2006 report on offshore tax haven abuses explains that assets can be hidden with the assistance of  “lawyers, brokers, bankers, offshore service providers, and others” offering offshore asset protection.  Seattle lawyer Mary Simon appears to have especially provided offshore asset protection services that featured Belizean trusts.

As revealed by “Red Flags In One of Washington State’s Largest Bankruptcies”, Ms. Simon may have aided bankruptcy debtor Michael Mastro’s effort to protect assets by way of a Belizean trust.  Mr. Mastro had seemingly hidden assets in said Belizean trust and the Court ultimately deemed the Belizean trust assets, (and his assets at two other trusts), to be bankruptcy estate property.

This meant Mr. Mastro’s trust assets were subject to liquidation for the benefit of his unsecured creditors, as discussed by Mr. Mastro’s Bankruptcy Estate & His Self-Settled Trusts.  Besides surfacing at Mr. Mastro’s bankruptcy, Ms. Simon’s name popped up during U.S.A. v. Berg, the largest Ponzi scheme / fraud prosecution in Washington state history.  A November 30, 2010 sworn declaration filed in Berg, averred that Mr. Berg had conferred with Ms. Simon on the subject of an asset protection plan.

Although an August 3, 2010 letter purportedly signed by Ms. Simon, suggests the plan was never fully realized, Ms. Simon might have participated in the plans initial phase by allegedly starting the process for forming the “DB517” Belizean trust and the “DB517” Delaware company.  Documents reportedly linked to this Belizean trust and the Delaware company, were seized by FBI agents executing a search warrant on August 30, 2010 at Mr. Berg’s Seattle business office.  These documents can be viewed by clicking on the following image:

 

Copyright 2012 Fred L. Abrams

The pretrial discovery phase of a divorce, bankruptcy or other legal matter is often the best chance one has to collect evidence of any assets hidden offshore.   The attached letter rogatory* submitted to the Swiss court, was included in one divorcing wife’s pretrial effort to gather such evidence.

At the time of pretrial discovery in her New York divorce, this wife used the letter rogatory to try to compel a Swiss bank to disclose info about her husband’s secret financial account.  In the Chapter 7 bankruptcy of Michael Mastro, discovery devices were likewise employed to collect evidence or leads about assets thought to be offshore.  One of these devices is the subpoena duces tecum reproduced below.

This subpoena reveals that the trustee for the Mastro bankruptcy estate sought among other things, copies of Mr. Mastro’s passport, airline tickets and hotel receipts.  As “Secreting Assets Without A Border Trace” indicated, investigators may search for offshore assets by “concentrat[ing] on foreign hotels, payment information, telephone records and on credit card expenses for details of physical movements and lifestyle.”

 (Click On The Subpoena To Read It)

*Letter Rogatory Has Been Sanitized / Changed For Privacy Reasons.

Copyright 2011 Fred L. Abrams

Investigating assets by issuing subpoenas and a letter rogatory

  • A prosecutor investigating an alleged tax fraud originating in Italy, has issued a letter rogatory regarding Chiron Holding LLC of Delaware.  The letter rogatory demonstrates that the prosecutor and Italian Finance Police are analyzing if Chiron participated in a suspected scheme to illegally avoid €416,895,973 in capital gains taxes.  To read a translated copy of the letter rogatory, click on this image:

Copyright 2011 Fred L. Abrams

In one of the largest bankruptcies in Washington state history, Chapter 7 trustee James F. Rigby Jr. is searching for assets that belong to Michael R. Mastro’s bankruptcy estate.  The bankruptcy estate assets could include everything from life insurance polices to expensive jewelry and other portable valuable commodities.  During the March 24, 2010 deposition of Mr. Mastro’s wife Linda, trustee Rigby asserted that Mr. Masto concealed estate assets by utilizing bogus trusts and fraudulent transfers.

At a January 29, 2010 court proceeding, trustee Rigby had also proclaimed there were many “red flag transactions” in Mr. Mastro’s bankruptcy case.  The Belizean “LCY Trust”, (with its Belizean “Compass Trust Corporation” trustee), was especially replete with red flags.  Trustee Rigy alleged that via LCY Trust and its related companies, Mr. Mastro possessed a $400,000 dollar Rolls Royce, $2 million in jewelry and an $18 million dollar mansion.  Mr. Mastro had established LCY Trust in 2008 with the help of the now inactive Seattle-based Vigal & Simon, Inc.

By way of Vigal & Simon, Inc., attorney Mary Simon seemed to supply asset protection services to Mr. Mastro.  Furthermore, Ms. Simon might have provided legal advice about LCY Trust and / or Compass Trust Corporation even after three creditors forced Mr. Mastro into bankruptcy on July 10, 2009.  A  December 5, 2009 e- mail supposedly sent by Ms. Simon, states: “Compass Trust– could resign as trustee and another trust company could be named.  That would throw a monkey wrench at them!”:

(To Enlarge, Click On The Image)

Copyright 2011 Fred L. Abrams

Although real estate developer Michael R. Mastro tried to protect assets by forming three trusts, the Court in Mr. Mastro’s bankruptcy case still found these trusts to be void.  According to the Court’s May 28, 2010 order, the trusts were void as to Mr. Mastro’s creditors because the trusts were “self-settled” (i.e. created and funded by Mr. Mastro for his own benefit).  The Court therefore treated Mr. Mastro’s trust assets as bankruptcy estate property which could be liquidated for the benefit of Mr. Mastro’s unsecured creditors.

A June 6th report filed by Mastro trustee James F. Rigby, Jr. reveals that these creditors may get a penny on the dollar this year.  Page 7 of the report additionally says that the creditors’ overall recovery from the Mastro bankruptcy estate might be just a 2% payout more or less.  Equally disturbing is that Mr. Mastro and his wife Linda also disappeared in June.  This caused the Court to issue bench warrants for the Mastros, who are believed to have recently stayed in Canada as fugitives.

Valuable jewelry which could be bankruptcy estate property, has too gone missing along with the Mastros.  Missing for example, are one platinum ring with a 27.80 carat pear shape diamond and one 14 karat white gold ring with a 15.93 carat round diamond.  On June 22, 2005, West Coast Diamond & Gem reportedly appraised the white gold ring’s total retail replacement value at $835,000.00.  On June 21, 2007, West Coast may have similarly appraised the platinum ring’s total retail replacement value at $1,300,000.00:


(Click On The Image For Hi-Res)

Copyright 2011 Fred L. Abrams

My November 1, 2009 article highlighted the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case of real estate developer Michael R. Mastro. At “Trustee in Mastro bankruptcy goes after four new targets“, the Seattle Times too commented on Mr. Mastro and wrote about one of the latest lawsuits filed to recover Mr. Mastro’s bankruptcy estate assets.

The lawsuit was commenced by Mastro Trustee James F. Rigby, Jr. on March 9, 2010 and is actually an adversary proceeding within Mr. Mastro’s bankruptcy case. Trustee Rigby’s complaint in this adversary proceeding claimed that Mr. Mastro had made fraudulent and / or preferential asset transfers which the Court should set aside. E.g. 11 U.S.C. §§544, 547 & 548.

The complaint alleged that Mr. Mastro had conspired with others “to achieve the unlawful objective of hindering, delaying, or defrauding Mastro’s creditors“. It claimed that Mr. Mastro wrongfully transferred promissory notes of more than $50 million to his business partner John Mastandrea. The transfer of these promissory notes was memorialized by a June 24, 2009 agreement:

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(Click On The June 24th Agreement For A Complete View)

The June 24th transfer also involved Mr. Mastro’s purported assignment of valuable accounts receivable to Mr. Mastandrea. These accounts receivable were listed in the June 24th agreement, at two exhibits labeled “B”:

Mr. Mastandrea however, recently stipulated that “[a]ny transfer or assignment from Mastro to Mastandrea pursuant to the June 24, 2009 agreement is avoidable and shall be avoided…”. March 24, 2010 Stipulation, at ¶2. As mentioned by the March 24th Stipulation and the “Agreed Judgment” related to it, assets transferred by the June 24th agreement are now re-vested in Mr. Mastro’s bankruptcy estate.

Copyright 2010 Fred L. Abrams

Bankruptcy Fraud, Money Laundering & Hidden Assets” outlines how a Chapter 7 debtor hid his Porsche and Rolls Royce and other assets.  That debtor eventually pleaded guilty to violating 18 U.S.C. §152 (Concealment of assets; false oaths and claims; bribery) and one count of 18 U.S.C §157 (Bankruptcy fraud).  “An Asset Search For Automobiles” similarly highlights how a Chapter 7 debtor concealed his $113,000 Porsche 911, by fraudulently transferring it out of state and registering it in the name of his brother.

A September 29, 2009 adversary complaint filed against 84-year-old Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtor Michael R. Mastro too claims that a valuable automobile was fraudulently transferred.  As part of this suspected fraudulent transfer, Mr. Mastro’s wife Linda, could have assigned Mr. Mastro’s $400,000 Rolls Royce to “LCY LLC Series Automobiles“.  The “Gift Statement” she reportedly executed, states that the Rolls was transferred without any exchange of consideration:

Continue Reading Mr. Mastro Supposedly Transfers His Rolls Royce & Other Assets