Asset Search/Fraud Investigation

If you are in a high net worth divorce, you might hire a forensic computer expert to access your divorcing spouse’s computer. You might hire this expert to try to detect community property your divorcing spouse hid from you. Meanwhile, if you are going to access your divorcing spouse’s computer, make sure your access does

If your spouse is a highly paid key employee, your spouse may participate in a nonqualified deferred compensation plan offered by an employer. By using this kind of plan, your high net worth spouse might reduce taxes by deferring an employer’s payment of salary, stock share certificates, cash or other assets. The YouTube

By using forensic computer experts in your divorce, you might identify a money trail leading to community property your spouse hid from you. In fact, you may be able to ask the Court to appoint a forensic computer expert to act as special master in your case. This special master would examine your spouse’s computer

I.  Are Secret Swiss Bank Accounts Still A Viable Concealment Tool?

The number of secret Swiss bank accounts held by U.S. citizens has decreased in recent years. This is due to FATCA; and Qualified Intermediary Withholding Agreements with the IRS; and the U.S. Government’s Swiss Bank Program. According to my counsel in Switzerland,

I. Alleged Hidden Marital Assets At A Bahamian Trust

Mrs. Jennifer Stein suspected her anesthesiologist husband Dr. Barry D. Stein, had hidden marital assets during their divorce.  According to Mrs. Stein, Dr. Stein transferred assets to a Bahamian trust to place them out of Mrs. Stein’s reach. Dr. Stein allegedly manipulated the family finances, Mrs.

Concealing AssetsIn USA v. Allen, Pennsylvania anesthesiologist Mr. James G. Allen Jr. pleaded guilty to tax fraud on June 4, 2019. Mr. Allen’s plan for concealing assets from the IRS seemingly relied on two common concealment methods. These two methods were abusing an offshore bank account and misusing a nominee, (i.e. intermediary). Mr.

The IRS thinks Florida businessman and Novatek CFO Mark Anthony Gyetvay, had hidden money offshore. The IRS believes Mr. Gyetvay secretly stashed as much as $93 million offshore in 2 Swiss bank accounts. On September 22, 2021 Mr. Gyetvay was indicted for suspected: tax fraud, failure to file FBAR’s, making false statements

I) PANAMÁ OFFSHORE LEGAL SERVICES

You won’t have an easy asset search if your adversary hires a Nominee Incorporation Service, (“NIS”), to hide assets from you. A NIS helps its customers establish corporations &/or other entities. In The Matter Of The Tax Liabilities Of John Does, prosecutors essentially alleged the Panamanian law firm

There ain't that many smurfs in the world.

If you are trying to detect hidden money you should look for asset search red flags like “smurfing¹.” Smurfing is a form of structuring cash deposits into bank accounts. It is one of the ways to secretly place cash into a money laundering circuit. When a bank customer in the U.S. deposits or withdraws $10,000 or more in cash, the bank must file a Currency Transaction Report (“CTR”). The bank files CTRs with FinCen which is a financial intelligence unit. To prevent the bank from filing a CTR, a smurf would make several cash deposits under $10,000. By structuring the cash deposits this way, the smurf hopes to fly under the radar.

ALLEGED SMURFING IN USA v. BAHADORIFAR, ET. AL.

Count Five of the 7/13/21 superseding indictment in USA v. Bahadorifar, et. al., 21 Cr. 00430(RA), highlights an alleged smurfing scheme. The smurfing scheme was supposedly carried out by California resident and department store employee, Ms. Niloufar Bahadorifar. Page 34 ¶¶ 41-42 of the 7/13/21superseding indictment at Count Five says:

[B]etween at least approximately April 2019 and May 2021, BAHADORIFAR structured cash deposits totaling at least approximately $505,822 at a financial institution in individual deposits of less than $10,000 each.

Additionally, page 9 ¶ 12 of the 7/13/21 superseding indictment claims that since July 2020, Ms. Bahadorifar made about $472,000 in unexplained cash deposits into her bank account. This allegedly included 98 cash deposits totaling approximately  $444,000 that were each less than $10,000. Ms. Bahadorifar is also thought to have tried to secretly transfer money by using debit &/or credit cards.

THE SUSPECTED IRANIAN TERRORIST NETWORK

Meanwhile, an Iranian terrorist network, (“the Network”), may be the true beneficial owner of Ms. Bahadorifar’s alleged $472,000 in unexplained cash deposits. The Network is comprised of Iranian intelligence officers and/or their intelligence assets. It is reportedly tasked with kidnapping exiled Iranian dissidents for rendition to Iran. Once the kidnapped victims are back in Iran, they face imprisonment &/or execution. According to the 7/13/21 superseding indictment, the Network planned to kidnap Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad, who lives in exile in Brooklyn, NY.  The Network apparently set its sights on Ms. Alinejad because she is vocal about the Government of Iran’s human rights abuses.

MISUSE OF PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS

During the alleged scheme to kidnap Ms. Alinejad for rendition to Iran, the Network allegedly hired licensed private investigators to place Ms. Alinejad under surveillance in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Network through its intelligence officers &/or intelligence assets hired the private investigators under the pretext of recovering money Ms. Alinejad supposedly stolen &/or supposedly owed to a foreign creditor. The Network is thought to have even hired a Manhattan-based private investigator to place a vehicle with a hidden camera in front of Ms. Alinejad’s Brooklyn home. This could provide the Network with live video monitoring of the home.

THE DECISION TO INITIATE OR DECLINE PROSECUTION 

Even though the Network hired private investigators to surveil Ms. Alinejad, prosecutors declined prosecution of the private investigators.The prosecutors might have believed the Network duped the private investigators into surveilling Ms. Alinejad. Prosecutors similarly declined prosecution of Ms. Bahadorifar for a conspiracy to kidnap Ms. Alinejad.  Prosecutors declined this prosecution although Page 9 ¶ 12 of the 7/13/21 superseding indictment alleges Ms. Bahadorifar “caused a payment to a private investigator for surveillance of [Ms. Alinejad]…”

Continue Reading Asset Search Red Flags, Smurfing, Private Investigators & A Kidnap Plot