How can one detect assets one is unaware of?  Sometimes by putting tipsters to work and collecting their tips.  These tips may be gathered in a variety of ways.  “An Asset Search, Tax Fraud & Divorce” describes a private investigation in which a prospective tipster was interviewed by “Brian”, an ex-IRS Special Agent and former high-ranking official at FinCEN.

Brian conducted the interview on behalf of a divorcing wife trying to locate marital assets hidden by her divorcing husband.  “Warsaw Prosecutors Eye Possible Money Laundering At 50 Platowcowa Street” mentions a tip supplied by an anonymous letter.  This tip letter caused Polish prosecutors to launch a money laundering investigation and search for assets connected to a suspected shell company in Delaware.

Meanwhile, the whistleblower programs at the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, (“the Commission”), also collect tips.   The two programs respectively sniff out tips about assets hidden in tax or securities frauds.  The article “What Happens To An SEC Whistleblower Tip?” available below, gives an insider’s view of the Commission’s whistleblower program.  One of the article’s authors is Jordan A. Thomas, a former assistant director in the Commission’s Enforcement Division.  Mr. Thomas had a leadership role in developing the Commission’s whistleblower program and he is now a partner and chair of the Whistleblower Representation Practice at Labaton Sucharow LLP.

What Happens To An SEC Whistleblower Tip?¹

One of the questions we’re frequently asked by clients and prospective clients is “what happens to a whistleblower tip once it’s submitted to the SEC, and how does the SEC determine which tips to actively investigate?” These are crucial questions for any potential whistleblower, especially given that the SEC receives approximately 30,000 tips, complaints and referral each year – 3,200 of which were whistleblower tips in 2013 – but can only conduct about 700 active enforcement investigations each year.
Continue Reading Detecting Hidden Assets By Putting Tipsters To Work

I will present my program “The Ins & Outs Of Recovering Assets Via Whistleblowers & Other Tipsters” in London at 11:40 AM June 23, 2014, during the Carmelite Chambers International Fraud & Asset Recovery Conference.   “The Ins & Outs Of Recovering Assets Via Whistleblowers & Other Tipsters” highlights how whistleblowers sniff out vast sums of money hidden through laundering and other asset concealment schemes.  I open the program by discussing the fact pattern of a divorcing husband hiding tens of millions of dollars from his wife and domestic tax authorities, by using shell companies, multiple jurisdictions, etc.

The program features Washington, DC attorney Jack Blum who will talk about the IRS Whistleblower Program.  Mr. Blum has been an expert witness for the U.S. Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service.  Mr. Blum additionally served as associate counsel, or assistant counsel, or special counsel to three U.S. Senate committees or subcommittees; and been quoted by or mentioned in thousands of newspaper and magazine articles around the world.

Since he resigned at the end of 2008, as “Of Counsel” to Baker & Hostetler’s Washington, DC office, Mr. Blum practices part-time for a select group of clients.  Just one of Mr. Blum’s clients is whistleblower Rudolf Elmer.  As described by “Swiss Banker Blows Whistle on Tax Evasion”, Mr. Elmer provided tips to the IRS, a U.S. Senate subcommittee and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, about suspected tax cheats with offshore bank accounts.  At a January 17, 2011 Frontline Club Press Conference, Mr. Elmer also supplied WikiLeaks with this same kind of information.  Mr. Elmer’s whistleblowing led to his criminal prosecution by Swiss authorities, on charges that he violated Swiss bank secrecy law.Continue Reading Carmelite Chambers International Fraud & Asset Recovery Conference

The post “An Asset Search, Tax Fraud & Divorce” was first published at the Asset Search Blog on January 16, 2008.  It is republished below as the seventh post in the “Divorce & Hidden Money” series.  The post describes my investigation of a divorcing husband.  While I was the divorcing wife’s attorney, I discovered the husband had hidden money offshore in anticipation of the divorce.  I also suspected the husband concealed this money from the IRS in furtherance of a tax fraud.

If evidence of tax fraud is brought to the attention of a judge presiding over a divorce, the judge may report the fraud to the IRS.  When the divorcing husband admitted in his affidavit that he had not paid taxes, the judge in Hashimoto v. De La Rosa, 2004 slip op. 51081(Sup. Ct. N.Y. County, June 23, 2004) reported him to the I.R.S.  In Beth M. v. Joseph M., 2006 slip op. 51490 (Sup. Ct. Nassau County, July 25, 2006), the judge similarly reported a husband who testified during court proceedings that he had not filed tax returns for the years 1997 through 2001 and other times.

Some divorcing spouses meanwhile, directly tip the IRS about their spouse’s tax fraud.  The spouses supplying these tips may be eligible for a reward as participants in the IRS Whistleblower program.  It typically takes six or more years for an IRS whistleblower to collect any reward and a whistleblower can face many challenges.  More information about blowing the whistle is at the Reuters article Record $104 million reward boosts whistleblowing on tax cheats, which cites me; and the New York Times article The Price Whistle-Blowers Pay For Secrets.
Continue Reading Divorce & Hidden Money: Whistleblowing, Tax Fraud & Tipping The IRS

Seizing mob assets and tipping the SEC:

  1. The article “Mafia hurt by asset seizures but still too strong to beat” suggests that Italian asset forfeiture laws are critically important in fighting the Italian mob.  The article quotes a magistrate in Naples who “told Reuters the confiscation of assets was a vital

“Swiss Banks, Smuggling & Other Asset Recovery Issues” will be presented from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM on April 18, 2013 in New York City, at the New York County Lawyers’ Association.  Jack Blum, Esq., Advocate Robert Fiecther of the Des Gouttes & Partners law firm located in Geneva, Switzerland and Fred L. Abrams, Esq. are speaking at this program.  To attend, please contact the New York County Lawyers’ Association at telephone no. (212) 267-6646.  The program’s description and agenda are as follows:

In its 2007 National Money Laundering Strategy report, the U.S. government estimated that as much as $36 billion annually from just the former Soviet Union, was being secretly transferred through U.S. bank accounts and U.S. shell companies.  Besides using U.S. bank accounts and shell companies, kleptocrats, Ponzi schemers, divorcing spouses, etc., can of course conceal assets by parking them in Swiss or other foreign bank accounts.

This program analyzes how bank secrecy laws, multiple jurisdictions and smuggling are utilized in schemes to conceal vast sums of money. The program discusses mutual legal assistance treaty relief and using letters rogatory as asset recovery tools.  It mentions ways whistleblowers or other tipsters may help sniff out these monies and the difficulty lawyers face in dealing with whistleblowers either as clients or as tipsters.

One of the program’s speakers Jack Blum, Esq., will examine the IRS Whistleblower Program and the ethical concerns gatekeepers such as lawyers and accountants have in reporting illegal behavior in both the civil and criminal contexts.  Mr. Blum served as associate counsel, or assistant counsel, or special counsel to three U.S. Senate committees or subcommittees; and has been quoted by or mentioned in thousands of newspaper and magazine articles around the world.  He was also an expert witness for the U.S. Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service.

Mr. Blum’s select clients include Heinrich Kieber, who blew the whistle on customers with offshore accounts at Liechtenstein’s private bank, the LGT Group.  Mr. Kieber sold his whistleblowing tips to the German government, which used them to track suspected tax cheats.  Mr. Blum too represented former Julius Baer Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer, who supplied tips about suspected tax evaders to both WikiLeaks and the IRS.

Another one of the program’s speakers is Robert Fiechter, who is a partner at the Des Gouttes & Partners law firm of Geneva Switzerland, founded in 1834.  Advocate Fiechter also serves as a Deputy Judge at the Court of Justice of Geneva, an appellate court.  He too served as a substitute criminal judge and is the Deputy Secretary of the Supervisory Board of the Swiss Bank’s Code of Conduct.  During the program, Advocate Fiechter will describe the ins and outs of Swiss bank secrecy laws.  He will additionally review the legal remedies available for recovering assets hidden in Switzerland and elsewhere across the globe.

Continue Reading Swiss Banks, Smuggling & Other Asset Recovery Issues

A whistleblower claim against Deutsche Bank and HSBC’s settlement with U.S. Treasury:

The name of a whistleblower is reportedly leaked and concealing assets in Luxembourg: