Today’s post is about Mr. Alex Nain Saab Moran (“Saab”) and Mr. Alvaro Pulido Vargas (“Pulido”) who could have hidden money at offshore banks; multiple jurisdictions; and in a nominee bank account (i.e. a bank account titled in the name of an intermediary).  I listed these three methods for hiding assets at “Red

Asset Recovery Workshop October 8-11, 2018
Photo from the asset recovery workshop held October 8-11, 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Fifteen West African countries sent judges; &/or prosecutors; &/or law enforcement agents to attend the asset recovery workshop I recently lectured at in Abuja, Nigeria. I was one of four resource persons at the workshop which was a

On October 8th & 9th in Abuja, Nigeria I will lecture about asset recovery & tracking assets.  I will present 2 lectures to law enforcement agents who work in West Africa. The lectures are called “Whistleblowers, Secret Bank Accounts & Recovering Hidden Assets” & “Asset Recovery Case Studies & Discussion.” I am presenting the lectures

Today’s post mentions how a tip collected from Colombian authorities revealed a bribery scheme thought to involve drug kingpin Jose Bayron Piedrahita-Ceballos.

During your asset search gather tips from witnesses who not only know about your adversary’s assets but are also at odds with your adversary. If you are litigating

Bank Deposit Image

In some situations, the transfer of large sums of cash is a red flag that assets have been hidden by money laundering. Government authorities therefore require banks to report their customers who transfer or exchange large sums of cash. For example, banks in the United States are required to report bank customers who deposit or

Detective Looking Through Magnifying Glass

This is the 10th post in my series about what private investigators can and cannot do legally when searching for assets. The post discusses “K.C.” who was defrauded out of at least $500,000.00 by Patricia Walker-Halstead, a private investigator “K.C.” hired to investigate a suspected stalker. The post discusses wire fraud & bribery—which are

Image For Article About Panama Papers

2008 was the first time I wrote an article mentioning hiding assets via a lawyer in Panama. The article was called “Bearer Shares & An Asset Search.” Although the facts at the article were sanitized & changed for privacy reasons, it described a divorcing husband in the U.S hiding assets from both his

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During his corruption scheme, former congressman William Jefferson is thought to have hidden bribe monies in his refrigerator. He also apparently hid bribe monies by using shell companies formed in Delaware, Nigeria and other places. U.S. law enforcement officers were able to search for these illicit assets through search warrants and a letter rogatory seeking

Corruption Proceeds Illustration

Transparency International leads the fight against public corruption which includes bribery & theft by government officials.  It basically says that corruption proceeds are transferred offshore & are one of the sources of illicit financial flows.  How do financial investigators across the globe search for these illicit assets?  One way they search is by looking

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Spotting the red flags/the money laundering indicators is one way to search for hidden assets.  The red flags may help you sniff out money or other assets concealed in matters ranging from a high net worth divorce to a securities fraud.  Financial Intelligence Units part of the Egmont Group employ red flags to search for money hidden across the globe by terrorist financiers; narco-traffickers; kleptocrats & others.  As more fully set forth here, red flags include:¹

  1. Large-scale cash transactions.
  2. Atypical or uneconomical fund transfer to or from foreign jurisdiction.
  3. Unusual business activity or transaction.
  4. Large and/or rapid movements of funds.
  5. Unrealistic wealth compared to client profile.
  6. Defensive stance to questioning.

The case study below, (sanitized for privacy reasons), is also from the Egmont Group.²  It is about a homicide; public corruption; fraud; & the laundering of $9.5 million dollars in “Economy F.”  The money was washed through a corporate bank account; lawyers’ trust accounts; & bank accounts belonging to money mules.  The Financial Intelligence Unit (“FIU”) involved in the case analyzed Suspicious Transaction Reports (“STRs”); issued orders freezing monies; etc.

ECONOMY F: A CASE STUDY

     The Economy F police received a criminal complaint from a government department involving fraud and theft. The facts related to the predicate offenses indicated that staff working in the government department colluded with an external crime syndicate to assist in obtaining copies of legitimate vendor payments, which were subsequently duplicated and processed to the benefit of various accounts indirectly linked to the syndicate. The initial loss exposure amounted to approximately US$573,000. Police requested Economy F’s FIU’s assistance in blocking the accounts that received the proceeds of crime, with an additional request to identify other possible players.
     The FIU interacted with the relevant accountable institutions and subsequently issued several postponement orders, resulting in US$317,000 of the initial proceeds being secured. This enabled the prosecuting authority to obtain a preservation order to secure the proceeds. These interventions were brought immediately after the police provided proof of the nexus between the criminal offense and the funds that were still available in the identified bank accounts.  Upon analysis of the STRs and bank records received of the accounts, the FIU identified various other payments originating from different government departments, which were unknown to the police at that stage, amounting to US$9.5 million.

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