Photo Of A Money TrailWhen vast sums of money are hidden in a bank account there is usually an electronic trace or other kind of money trail.  A skilled investigator may help detect the money trail, as suggested by my 2010 post Secreting Assets Without A Border Trace.  The post quoted “Roger” a former foreign intelligence officer who was working as a private investigator.  At the post, Roger discussed some asset concealment methods and investigative techniques for following a money trail.  As these concealment methods and investigative techniques are still being used, the relevant part of Secreting Assets Without A Border Trace is featured below.  This is also the 4th post in my series about what private investigators can and cannot do legally when searching for assets.¹

As a consequence of his U.S.-based Ponzi scheme, Bill the investment adviser was indicted for alleged violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1956 (money laundering); 26 U.S.C. § 7201 (tax fraud); 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 2 (mail fraud); 15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b) and 78ff(a) (securities fraud); and 15 U.S.C. §§ 80b-6 and 80b-17 (investment adviser fraud). The critical question now was: what had happened to the $35 million dollars lost by the damaged investors in Bill’s Ponzi scheme? After Bill insisted he dissipated this $35 million by gambling and on cocaine, prostitutes, etc., federal agents interdicted $1 million U.S. dollars hidden in a bedroom wall at Bill’s California home.

Among the other items the agents seized during their search of Bill’s home, were Bill’s passport, desktop computer, cell phone, bank statements and jewelry store receipts.  Some of these items revealed that Bill laundered $7.5 million of the damaged investors’ money through a nominee bank account opened in the name of a Nevada shell company.

Bill had eventually withdrawn this $7.5 million to purchase diamonds and other portable valuable commodities at Nevada jewelry stores He next traveled as an airline passenger to Zurich, Switzerland, according to his passport. To date, the only recovery from Bill’s Ponzi scheme has been the $1 million once hidden in his bedroom wall. Given all of the above, “Roger” explained how investigators could try to determine whether Bill had secreted any of the $35 million in a foreign bank account:
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In the Breaking Bad television series, Walter White hid profits from his illegal manufacture of methamphetamine.  He hid illicit drug profits in a crawl space under his house, as the video above partly reveals.  Walter and his wife Skyler also laundered money through the A1A Car Wash.  Walter’s partner in crime, (Breaking Bad’s Jesse Pinkman),

This is the ninth post in the “Divorce & Hidden Money” series.  By failing to disclose any offshore assets, one divorcing spouse may cheat the other out of child support, alimony or other court awards.  A spouse cheated this way might however, file requests for judicial assistance, (a.k.a. requests for legal assistance, letters of request, or letters rogatory), in a foreign country to collect evidence from witnesses residing there.  

Evidence collected from the foreign witnesses may prove a divorcing spouse concealed bank accounts, businesses, real estate or additional assets offshore.  The post highlights a request for judicial assistance in the U.S. filed by Helga Glock, (“Ms. Glock”), former wife of billionaire Gaston Glock, (“Mr. Glock”), inventor of the Glock pistol.   It features a January 31, 2010 letter Mr. Glock allegedly wrote to his family discussing his plans for them.  The post also discusses accessing Swiss bank account information and updates Helga Glock Claims Gaston Glock Started Concealing His Assets, published January 1st.    

THE LETTER TO MR. GLOCK’S FAMILY

After her divorce from Mr. Glock in Austria on June 27, 2011, Ms. Glock made a  March 18, 2013 request for judicial assistance, (“the Request”),  in the case called In Re: Application of H.M.G., Index No. 13-cv-02598.  The Request included a January 31, 2010 letter, (“the Letter”), Mr. Glock allegedly wrote to his family.  If genuine, the Letter gives a glimpse of Mr. Glock’s dealings with Ms. Glock and their children who worked in the family’s gunmaking business.  The Letter mentioned “the Privatstiftung”, a trust/Austrian private foundation Mr. Glock, Ms. Glock and others reportedly set up as co-settlors.  Some of the key points Mr. Glock allegedly made at the Letter were:

  • “In 1999 I decided to restructure the Glock Group and secure it for all succeeding generations to come through the  Privatstiftung (trust).”

  • “I guarantee the agreed upon payments to the beneficiaries for a lifetime.  I therefore expect appreciation, compliance and acceptance and the respect I deserve as a father.”

  • “I am working on a ‘Glock code of conduct’ which will be implemented and will require all employees and family who access the benefits to adhere to.”

  • “I will not allow any interference with my life long business endeavors.  Therefore, all employed family members will withdraw from the company’s operations.”

(Click On The Image To Read The Letter & Its English Translation)

 


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This is the eighth post in the “Divorce & Hidden Money” series.  Like “Four Asset Concealment Tools” and “Four Ways Assets Can Be Secretly Transferred”, the post reveals methods a spouse may use to hide marital assets and keep more than his/her fair share of the marital estate.

Credit/Debit Cards- Using a credit or debit card which draws from a secret foreign bank account is one way divorcing spouses can secrete and/or launder assets.  This method is so common that the IRS established its Offshore Credit Card Program to detect tax cheats maintaining undeclared foreign accounts.

A ‘Zebra’ Strategy (a.k.a Commingling)- A divorcing spouse may conceal marital assets by commingling them with business or other assets.  This ‘zebra’ strategy of mixing assets, is mentioned by the article Cayman Bank Records Seized.   The article discusses Germany’s recent seizure of records and says that some Coutts Trust Company customers “followed a ‘zebra’ strategy of mixing legally declared and taxed accounts containing smaller amounts with undeclared accounts containing larger sums.”

Asset Protection Services- One promotor of these services is Capital Asset, Inc.  Its website claims that forming companies in Nevada, or Wyoming, or Delaware is preferable because: “Do you know that partnerships, corporations, LLCs in most states make you completely visible? If a judge can see your assets, he can seize them.”  Divorcing spouses may hire a promotor of asset protection services to establish such companies which can then be used to open bank accounts or maintain assets with anonymity.


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This is the sixth post in the “Divorce & Hidden Money” series.

Four Ways Assets Can Be Secretly Transferred” mentioned methods some use to move assets across international borders.  My post regarding the 2011 divorce between Helga and Gaston Glock discussed additional asset concealment tools.  Any one or a combination

This is the fourth post in the “Divorce & Hidden Money” series.

Mr. Gaston Glock’s creation of the ubiquitous Glock pistol turned him into a billionaire and he is thought to be one of the twenty wealthiest individuals in all of Austria.  Mr. Glock’s ex-wife Ms. Helga Glock meanwhile, suspected he is concealing marital assets which could be connected to the couple’s 2011 Austrian divorce.

Ms. Glock therefore used civil law tools in an attempt to detect any marital assets / alleged hidden monies Mr. Glock supposedly possessed.  The civil law tools Ms. Glock employed included: 1) her Swiss petition to freeze a UBS bank account reportedly maintained by Mr. Glock in Switzerland; and 2) the March 18, 2013 request for judicial assistance filed at In re application of: H.M.G., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Index No. 13-cv-02598.

MS. GLOCK’S MARCH 18th REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE

Ms. Glock’s March 7, 2013 affidavit filed at her request for judicial assistance, claimed Mr. Glock had earlier started hiding and moving personal and corporate assets in anticipation of the couple’s divorce.  The March 7th affidavit discussed Ms. Glock’s belief that Mr. Glock was trying to transfer assets out of her reach; and that there had allegedly been a steady flow of assets out of Austria.

According to the affidavit, there were financial transfers to the above-mentioned UBS Swiss bank account and to bank accounts in Liechtenstein or Luxembourg.  Also according to the affidavit, Mr. Glock had a Bermuda trust formed so that it could receive $51 million from “Glock”.  The affidavit additionally referred to the “worldwide Glock Group structure” and indicated the structure was thought to be partially depicted by this chart:


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This is the third post in the “Divorce & Hidden Money” series:

One divorcing wife explained to me that she believed her husband had hidden money in offshore bank accounts.  This divorcing wife found a box her husband inadvertently left  in the basement after he moved out of their marital residence.  The box had an account opening application from one offshore bank and brochures from others.

Another divorcing wife found some correspondence at the family’s summer home.  The correspondence  was between her husband and the foreign attorney who helped establish the husband’s secret offshore bank accounts.  A different divorcing wife found a scrap of paper on which her husband had scrawled the name of a Swiss banker and a Swiss financial account number.

The above-described matters raised the same question, how could these husbands secretly transfer funds across international borders into offshore bank accounts?  Like narco-traffickers, tax evaders, terrorist financiers and others, divorcing spouses may use the following methods to secretly transfer assets:

Bulk Cash Smuggling– Determined criminals routinely smuggle cash through porous borders.  Illicit cash couriers for instance, travel through Mexico-U.S. border crossings on behalf of  Mexican drug cartels.  German tax cheats are also known to smuggle undeclared cash into Liechtenstein by stashing the cash in luggage and then driving with it across the German-Liechtenstein border.

Portable Valuable Commodities Like Diamonds & Jewelry– After his arrest, Bernard Madoff seemingly tried to transfer watches, cufflinks and other jewelry worth more than $1 million.  Madoff attempted to mail these items to friends and relatives.  Bradley Birkenfeld the whistleblower, is believed to have similarly smuggled diamonds in a tube of toothpaste while on a jet flying across U.S.-Swiss borders.


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