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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.

Continue Reading An Asset Search Seeking Laundered Money Hidden Across The Globe

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As “A Surreptitious Search For Money Hidden In Divorce & Other Cases” explains, law enforcement databases may house confidential information about a person’s assets.  Private investigators & the general public cannot lawfully access these law enforcement databases/computers.  This is the 5th post in my series about what private investigators can and cannot do

At Carmelite Chambers International Fraud & Assert Recovery Conference, I met Advocate & English Barrister Stephen Baker of Baker & Partners from St. Helier, Jersey.  During the Conference, Mr. Baker presented his slideshow with case studies about recovering suspected corruption proceeds or other assets.

Some of Mr. Baker’s slides reveal how foreign bank accounts; multiple jurisdictions and nominees, (i.e. intermediaries), could be used as elements in suspected laundering schemes:

One topic Mr. Baker’s slideshow covers is the investigation of the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha.  As Baker & Partners’ webpage explains: “Baker & Partners were central to the successful Jersey investigation into the alleged laundering of the proceeds of the corrupt Nigerian Dictator General Abacha’s crimes through Jersey. This investigation has already resulted in over USD $160,000,000 being returned to Nigeria.”


Continue Reading Searching For Corruption Proceeds & Other Assets On The Island Of Jersey

Leonard Glenn Francis is a Malaysian national who is the CEO and owner of Glenn Defense Marine Asia, a general contractor to the United States Navy.   He is suspected of using Glenn Defense Marine Asia to defraud the Navy out of an estimated $20 million.  At a November 22, 2013 court filing, prosecutors argued that Mr. Francis “ has built a business empire based on defrauding the United States.”

Mr. Francis is accused of  fraudulently billing the Navy while supplying its ships with marine husbanding services (i.e. fuel, tugboats, food etc.).  Mr. Francis supposedly also bribed senior Naval officials with cash, lavish travel and the service of prostitutes.  These Naval officials are thought to have provided Mr. Francis with secret information about criminal investigations into him; and / or they allegedly disclosed confidential defense procurement information.

The Washington Post reported that the possible involvement of two admirals in the alleged public corruption scheme, “makes the crisis the worst to tar the Navy since the 1991 Tailhook scandal, when a convention of naval aviators sexually assaulted scores of women.”  A September 12, 2013 complaint filed in one of three criminal cases pending against Mr. Francis, included purported e-mails.  They were allegedly sent from April 27 to May 21, 2012, between Mr. Francis and a codefendant, Mr. John Bertrand Beliveau, Jr.  Mr. Beliveau has been employed as a Special Agent by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service since about 2002 and his purported e-mails are set forth below.


Continue Reading Mr. Francis Supposedly Built A Business Empire By Defrauding The US

U.S. prosecutors issued a press release yesterday announcing the extradition of former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo.  Mr. Portillo’s extradition to the United States was based on his alleged money laundering.

Yesterday, Mr. Portillo was also arraigned in federal court in Manhattan.  Although Mr. Portillo was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal, the

This Asset Search News Roundup discusses the Secrecy for Sale Project and the indictment of a NY attorney along with a Swiss banker:

I)  The US-based  International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, (“ICIJ”), analyzed more than 2.5 million documents in its Secrecy for Sale Project.  The Project began after the ICIJ received a computer hard

The ACAMS / MoneyLaundering.com article “FATF’s Focus on Asset Forfeiture Could Challenge Some Nations”, especially raises the issue of recovering corruption proceeds.  Near the end of this article, I am mentioned as saying that as part of their effort to crack down on corruption, Financial Action Task Force examiners may expect jurisdictions to track bribes paid by local companies to foreign governments:

FATF’s Focus on Asset Forfeitures Could Challenge Some Nations¹

October 31, 2012, By Brian Monroe

An intergovernmental group’s revised expectations of how countries should seize looted assets may prove difficult to meet, and could lower the mutual evaluation scores nations receive for their anti-money laundering controls.

Earlier this month, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) outlined in guidance how jurisdictions should best assist one another with asset forfeitures, calling for the implementation of formal and informal mutual legal assistance arrangements and the creation of specialized units to expedite responses to intergovernmental inquiries.

How willingly nations cooperate with one another will be an important factor in how FATF evaluates their anti-money laundering (AML) and counterterrorism financing regimes going forward, according to an individual familiar with high-level discussions within the intergovernmental group.

“Asset confiscation and recovery is a very important objective and an indicator of the success of the overall regime,” said the person, who asked not to be named. The issue is linked to FATF’s increased focus on fighting corruption, the individual said.

In February, individuals involved in FATF talks told ACAMS MoneyLaundering.com that the group was revising how it scored regimes to emphasize efficacy, and would consider forfeiture sizes, conviction rates and other factors. The shift follows FATF’s decision to streamline its AML and counterterrorism financing standards earlier this year.

As part of that effort, the group plans to grade countries on both technical compliance and how effectively they implement financial crime controls, including asset forfeitures, sources said this month. The two separate grades will be combined in an overall score included as part of each mutual evaluation.

But meeting FATF’s asset forfeiture standard, as outlined in its Oct. 19 best practices, will be challenging for nations of all stripes, according to Tom Lasich, a former head of training at the Switzerland-based International Centre for Asset Recovery and a former Internal Revenue Service criminal investigator.


Continue Reading Recovering Assets By Cracking Down On Corruption Proceeds

Recovering corruption proceeds and related issues:

  1. At a news release, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development notes that in twelve years, French authorities had just five convictions in cases arising out of the bribery of foreign officials.  The news release claims that French authorities have a “lacklustre response” to cases involving actual or