A Financial Intelligence Unit (“FIU”) tracks hidden assets by “following the money.”  There is always a money trail when assets are hidden and money is laundered. One way FIUs follow a money trail is by collecting suspicious activity reports from banks about bank customers. FIUs can follow a bank customer’s money trail

In USA v. Pursley prosecutors alleged Houston attorney Jack Stephen Pursley helped his client Shaun Philip Mooney repatriate money hidden offshore. On August 5, 2020 Attorney Pursley was sentenced to two years of prison on conspiracy and tax evasion charges.

I.  Attorney Pursley’s Alleged $18 Million Transfer To The U.S.

Attorney Pursley was accused of

Prosecutors in U.S.A. v. Kozel accuse Mr. Todd Kozel former CEO of Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd., of hiding assets by using lawyers, shell companies & trusts. The prosecutors claim Mr. Kozel fraudulently concealed assets from his ex-wife Ashley Kozel during the former couple’s Sarasota County Florida divorce. Mr. Kozel’s alleged scheme is

Determined criminals hiding assets typically wash assets by using money laundering methods. Laundering methods include: commingling funds; opening secret offshore bank accounts; hoarding & smuggling cash; titling assets in the name of nominees; etc. The Asia/Pacific Group On Money Laundering lists these and other key money laundering methods at its typologies webpage.

The

“Better Call Saul” & “Breaking Bad” remind us to look during asset searches for lawyers hiding money. In these fictional cable TV series, criminal defense lawyer Saul Goodman laundered money for meth maker Walter White & his co-conspirator Jesse Pinkman. At Breaking Bad’s Season 3, Episode 11 for example, Saul Goodman recommended washing illicit

Money laundering by rigging courtsOne money laundering method involves hiding money by rigging court cases.¹ A plaintiff sues a defendant over a supposed breach of contract. Meanwhile, nobody knows the defendant is the plaintiff’s strawperson and the two have rigged the court case. When the plaintiff wins the bogus breach of contract case, the Court issues a money judgment

This 40th post in my Divorce & Hidden Money series mentions Mr. Vardan Keshishyan, who reportedly hid money from his divorcing wife by smurfing (a.k.a structuring ).  In the context of money laundering, a smurf makes cash deposits below a bank’s threshold for reporting cash deposits to the government. By doing this the smurf

Last Tuesday Senator Warren released her plan to track hidden money & fight corruption. Money launderers, tax dodgers, narco-traffickers; terrorist financiers and other fraudsters can easily establish shell companies without disclosing who actually owns the shell companies. They open bank accounts and maintain the bank accounts in the names of the shell companies,

An asset search for stock share certificates begins with looking for red flags.  These red flags are listed at the July 2019 paper “FIU Tools and Practices for Investigating Laundering of The Proceeds of Corruption.”  As page 19 paragraph 29 of the paper says, you should look for:

[R]eceiv[ing] or purchas[ing] shares