When an asset search uncovers that a divorcing spouse or ex-husband may be fraudulently hiding assets, it can lead to a civil RICO case.  Plaintiff Christa Ritter’s asset search of her ex-husband for example, ended in the filing of such a RICO case in Ritter v. Klisivitch et. al., Index # 2:06 CV 05511, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.  Although Plaintiff Ritter’s RICO case is currently the subject of Defendants’ pending dismissal motions, the Court may ultimately permit her to proceed via the following Proposed Complaint:

Plaintiff Ritter’s Proposed Complaint alleges that Defendant Klisivitch had violated RICO laws (18 U.S.C. §1961 et. seq.), through mail, wire and bank fraud (18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1343, 1344); obstruction of justice (18 U.S.C. §1503); money laundering (18 U.S.C. § 1956);  tax fraud (26 U.S.C. §§ 7201, 7202, 7206); and bankruptcy fraud (18 U.S.C. § 152).  Also according to the Plaintiff, the foregoing had occurred because Defendant had tried to protect his assets from judgments against him arising from the Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s divorce.

Via the Proposed Complaint, Plaintiff alleges some of the common money laundering indicia.  Plaintiff for example, essentially claims that Defendant had transferred money through nominee bank accounts and / or holding companies.  Among other things, the Proposed Complaint further alleges that Defendant had purchased real property through a nominee.

As Klisivitch partly suggests, a civil RICO complaint can sometimes be used as a countermeasure against those suspected of hiding assets related to a divorce.  Another N.Y. litigant for example, (in Ostashko v. Ostashko, No. 00 CV 7162; 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27015 at *50-*82 {E.D.N.Y. Dec. 10, 2002}), used a RICO complaint to set aside her divorcing husband’s fraudulent confession of judgment.  This happened because the Ostashko Court found that the divorcing husband had used his confession of judgment to fraudulently conceal marital assets offshore, in Russia.

Copyright 2008 Fred L. Abrams