It was the late 1990’s and I was hired by a San Francisco law firm to investigate a diamond ponzi scheme. A scheme that I have not been able to write about until today, almost 20 years later. The original victim is deceased. Most of the involved parties are no longer in business but I have to provide a few redactions to protect my client law firm and quite frankly, me.
A Russian individual in San Francisco offered an investment opportunity to another Russian resident for a $50,000 investment in South African diamonds. No red flags here, LOL. The victim transferred the money through a company named Nikado Corp, an Antigua corporation to an account at the Bank of New York. I was able to track a transfer from the Bank of New York to a Russian owned bank in Antigua managed by one Vladimir Ivanov. Interesting to note that my investigation took place one year before this article was published on the Russian Mob laundering money through the Bank of New York.
There was an SFO investment company involved in this transaction called Morgan Fuller. They, through a company called Pinnacle had purchased stock in a Lithuanian bank called Bankas Hermis. This turned out to be a total fraudulent shit storm as documented by the SEC here.
Based upon the listed relationships, this bank was used an an investment vehicle for Morgan Fuller and Bankas Hermis. The key was to be able to trace the Nikado account to this bank.
We had created a “chart of characters” and one name was closely associated with providing Boris Yeltson logistical support for his election. There were also two Americans on that list that had worked for the Reagan campaign.
We traced the money to Antgua which is one of the most difficult offshore havens to extract intelligence from. Even though I had a former US Treasury official well entrenched there, he hit walls wherever he went.
Based upon all the “players” we knew of, which included a major criminal organization and Russian Government officials, we reached a point where we handed the case back to the client advising them how deep they would have to go and that it was obvious our research would have to be handed to the Feds.
I am Ted. The original Ted. And this is the Official Ted Blog.
There was a time when I was part of a team that was retained by a major California bank to go after post judgement money overseas. Their client, who they commercially funded(in the millions), defaulted on the loan. Judgement was issued by the court however the bank could find very few assets in the USA. They needed to take the hunt for the cash up a few notches as many of these clients were still living the high life. We were hired because of our relationships with international law enforcement and expats retired from the US Government living abroad. We had our methods which were successful in finding the money which would pave a path for our client to collect on the debt.
Throughout this investigative process we noticed a trend. While we investigated the case, we would find pre-existing detrimental data, that had the bank known, they would not have ever funded the loan.
I took our new data to this financial institution and asked them to implement a much deeper due diligence program. I found the loan officers and supervisors were over zealous in funding the loans. They just did not look that deep. If the surface of the package made sense, they pushed it through there funding meetings. Accountants crunch the numbers. Lawyers go over the paperwork. But who was looking deep into the past and civil and criminal issues? Who was looking the integrity of the company and its principals? They adopted our program. However there was this one case…where the LO tried slip one past us.
The VP of commercial funding had seen we had not signed off on the package which made sense considering we were never sent the package for review.
Their client was an aviation equipment company(that is still in business so I will leave their name out of this post). They wanted $2 Million dollars to retrofit a couple of 737 aircraft as island hoppers in Hawaii. The package looked great. And in fact they provided aviation equipment to the US Government and the Department of Defense. They made a forward statement in which they expected to have a continuing income from DoD contracts. Their financials looked great and they did have money in the bank.
Only one problem. A few years before, the company and its CEO were convicted in federal criminal court for defrauding the government. It seems they wanted to win a specific parts contract and they paid off the other bidders to bid really high so that this company could come in at low bid. Part of the conviction included an 8 year stay on this company being able to do business with the government in any way. So how does the forward statement above hold any water?
This is an integrity issue. Did our findings always stop the bank from funding the loans if they make sense in other ways? No and that was not our responsibility. But at least the financial institutions had additional data within their decision making process.
Integrity is everything and as a former investigator when I work with start up companies, IPO’s and ICO’s, I dig deep.
I am Ted. The original Ted. And this is the Official Ted Blog.
Let’s face it. Big tech like Microsoft, Google, Apple and others have faced mounting criticism in recent years for avoiding taxes in the US and Europe. We all pay our taxes including small businesses, and of course big corporate to date, in my opinion has not paid its share. Now we have good news from Apple.
Apple said it would pay an expected $38 billion in tax expenses to take back to the US a portion of the money it has reserved abroad over time. Apple says the installment would be the biggest expense of its tax debt ever. But at the same time it’s a quite decent arrangement for the organization.
In the wake of the tax break endorsed by Congress a month ago, Apple additionally reported plans to put $30 billion in the USA throughout the following five years, to make 20,000 jobs. In any case, it’s not clear how much those numbers spoke to an expansion from Apple’s past plans, or its amount will be supported by the repatriated money.
Apple didn’t determine how much cash it will repatriate. The organization had $252.3 billion in real money and “money like” resources abroad, as indicated by a recording with the Securities Exchange Commission a year ago. Under the new expense design, Apple and different organizations must pay assesses on remote benefits stopped abroad. Organizations aren’t required to really move those assets back to the US, yet there’s little purpose behind Apple to keep its money abroad once it’s paid the expense.
Had Apple chosen to take the greater part of its overseas money back to the US a year ago, it would have paid a duty rate of 35 percent, about $88.3 billion, short the duties paid to outside governments. Be that as it may, the assessment design passed a year ago just charges a one-time 15.5 percent impose on the greater part of an organization’s abroad money.