The securities fraud complaint in Nesbeth v. USMIO, Docket No: 09−cv−62042−WJZ, alleges that Wachovia Bank caused damage to the supposed victims of a Ponzi scheme. This complaint, (referred to hereinafter as “the Florida Complaint“), also asserts claims against: MasterCard Worldwide, Mr. David Smith of Jamaica, Overseas Locket Corporation formed in Jamaica, Former Premier Michael Misick of the Turks and Caicos Islands, etc.

The Florida Complaint alleges that Mr. David Smith had operated a Ponzi scheme which reportedly involved six thousand victims from the Jamaican community and might have caused $220 million in losses. Florida Complaint at  ¶¶31, 37 & 38.  The suspected illicit proceeds of the scheme may have been used to invest in businesses and possibly pay for: real property, a lavish cruise, valuable watches (i.e. portable valuable commodities), ornamental furniture and exotic automobiles.  Florida Complaint at ¶52.

According to the Florida Complaint at ¶49, proceeds from the scheme had additionally been laundered through bank accounts, including one maintained at Wachovia.  Like the Wisconsin Complaint earlier provided at “Associated Bank Sued For Supposedly Ignoring Red Flags“, the Florida Complaint essentially claims that a bank’s anti-money laundering program / Customer Identification Program pursuant to 31 CFR 103.121 ¶ (b) (2) (i), failed.

The Florida Complaint for example, alleges that Wachovia had “engaged in facilitating David Smith’s Ponzi scheme by receiving and forwarding monies using the Federal wire transfer system.”  Florida Complaint at ¶4.  Wachovia had also allegedly failed to: “sufficiently verify the identity of customers…in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act and applicable regulations.”  Florida Complaint at ¶83.

Given all of the foregoing, the Florida Complaint may be trying to assert a negligence per se claim based on U.S. anti-money laundering laws and / or the Bank Secrecy Act.  This particular kind of claim is typically not recognized in the U.S by its federal courts.  The Florida Complaint also claims elsewhere, that the supposed Ponzi scheme included cross-border elements in: the United States; the British Virgin Islands; the Turks and Caicos Islands; Jamaica; etc.  The alleged Florida Secretary of State filing below, is one of many exhibits attached to the Florida Complaint.

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 (Edited April 6, 2010)

Copyright 2010 Fred L. Abrams