Posts Tagged With Money Laundering

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Day Trader Indicted in Computer Hacking and Securities Fraud Scheme Targeting Online Brokerage Accounts

On November 8, 2017, a federal grand jury in Brooklyn returned a four-count indictment charging Pennsylvania resident Joseph P. Willner with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and computer intrusions, securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  According to the indictment, Willner and others conspired to hack into the online brokerage accounts of numerous victims and to place unauthorized trades in those accounts between September 2014 and May 2017.  Willner ... Continue Reading

Russian National and Bitcoin Exchange Charged in 21-Count Indictment for Operating Alleged International Money Laundering Scheme and Allegedly Laundering Funds from Hack of Mt. Gox

On July 26, 2017, a grand jury in California indicted Alexander Vinnik, a Russian national, for money laundering, operating an unlicensed money service business (BTC-e), and related crimes.  One day prior to the indictment, Vinnik was arrested in Greece.  The indictment alleges that Vinnik stole identities, facilitated drug trafficking, and helped launder criminal proceeds.  Vinnik is also accused of receiving funds from the infamous hack of Mt. Gox and laundering them through online exchanges, including ... Continue Reading

Man Who Laundered Millions from Massive Computer Hacking and Telecommunications Fraud Scheme Gets 48 Months in Prison

On June 28, 2017, Muhammad Sohail Qasmani was sentenced to 48 months in prison in connection with a scheme to launder more than $19.6 million as part of a global computer hacking and telecommunications fraud scheme.  According to the documents filed in this and related cases, Noor Aziz of Karachi, Pakistan, allegedly led a scheme to  access without authorization the computer systems that ran the internal telephone networks of numerous businesses and organizations in the ... Continue Reading

Operator of Unlawful Bitcoin Exchange Sentenced to More than 5 Years in Prison for Leading Multimillion-Dollar Money Laundering and Fraud Scheme

On June 27, 2017, Anthony R. Murgio was sentenced to 66 months in prison for operating an internet-based Bitcoin exchange through which Murgio processed more than $10 million in illegal Bitcoin transactions.  According to the Superseding Indictment and statements made during court proceedings, Murgio operated, the unlawful exchange, between 2013 and July 2015. was founded in violation of federal anti-money laundering laws and regulations, including those requiring exchanges like to meet state ... Continue Reading

Former Managing Director at Swiss Bank Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering Charge in Connection with Soccer Bribery Scheme / Former General Secretary of Guatemalan Soccer Federation Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud Charges

On June 15, 2017, Jorge Luis Arzuaga, a former managing director at the Swiss bank Julius Baer, pled guilty to a money laundering charge in the latest update in the sprawling FIFA corruption scandal.  According to the plea agreement, Arzuaga managed Swiss bank accounts for Alejandro Burzaco, an Argentinian sports marketing executive.  Burzaco pled guilty to paying $110 million in bribes to Julio Grondona, a senior executive at FIFA and the president of Argentina’s soccer ... Continue Reading

United States Seeks to Recover Approximately $540 Million Obtained from Corruption Involving Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund

On June 15, 2017, the Justice Department filed additional civil forfeiture complaints to recover an additional $540 million in assets as part of the investigation into 1MBD, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.  The investigation has revealed that 1MBD officials, with the help of their friends and families, diverted more than $4.5 billion through United States financial institutions in order to buy and invest in assets for personal use.  The most recent civil forfeiture action includes ... Continue Reading

United States Files Complaint to Forfeit More Than $1.9 Million from China-Based Company Accused of Acting as a Front for Sanctioned North Korean Bank

On June 14, 2017, the United States filed a civil forfeiture complaint against Mingzheng International Trading Limited, alleging that Mingzheng is a sham financial institution laundering United States dollars for North Korean entities facing international sanctions.  In 2013, the United States imposed sanctions on the Foreign Trade Bank, a financial institution owned and controlled by the North Korean government.  The Foreign Trade Bank has foreign branches, including in northeastern China—the home of Mingzheng.  According to ... Continue Reading

Banamex USA Agrees to Forfeit $97 Million in Connection with Bank Secrecy Act Violations

On May 22, 2017, Banamex USA (BUSA) entered a non-prosecution agreement with the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice to resolve an investigation into its Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violations.  As part of its agreement, BUSA forfeited approximately $97.5 million, admitted to willfully failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering compliance program to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), and agreed to fully cooperate with the Department of Justice’s BSA and federal money laundering investigations ... Continue Reading

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces $5.9 Million Settlement of Civil Money Laundering and Forfeiture Claims Against Real Estate Corporations Alleged To Have Laundered Proceeds of Russian Tax Fraud

On May 12, 2017, 11 corporations, including some that own high-end residential and commercial property in Manhattan, settled a money laundering and civil forfeiture action in the Southern District of New York.  As part of the stipulation of settlement, Prevezon Holdings Ltd., one of the defendant corporations, agreed to pay approximately $5.9 million to resolve the claims against all defendants.  According to the complaint, the defendant corporations laundered a portion of the proceeds of an ... Continue Reading

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Settlement of Bank Secrecy Act Suit Against Former Chief Compliance Officer at MoneyGram for Failure To Implement and Maintain an Effective Anti-Money Laundering Program and File Timely SARS

On May 4, 2017, a settlement was reached with Thomas Haider, the former chief compliance officer of MoneyGram International, Inc. (“MoneyGram”).  The settlement resolves claims that Haider violated the Bank Secrecy Act by failing to ensure that MoneyGram had an effective anti-money laundering program and filed timely suspicious activity reports with FinCEN.  As part of the settlement, Haider must pay $250,000 and is prevented from performing a compliance function for any money transmitter for three ... Continue Reading

Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Trevor N. McFadden of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division Speaks at ACI’s 19th Annual Conference on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

On April 20, 2017, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Trevor N. McFadden spoke at the American Conference Institute (“ACI”) about the Department of Justice’s continued focus on white collar crime.  Affirming the Department’s commitment, McFadden said, “While we are boosting our focus on violent crime prosecutions, the Criminal Division is fully engaged in combating crime in all its forms, and no matter what color collar its perpetrators wear.  McFadden highlighted the work of the ... Continue Reading

Four Individuals Arrested for Multi-Million Dollar Securities Fraud and Money Laundering Schemes

On April 14, 2017, four individuals were arrested for their involvement in a stock manipulation scheme involve BioCube, Inc. and their efforts to launder approximately $2 million in illegal proceeds.  The four individuals are Chris Messalas, Boris Rubizhevky, Michael Garnick and Dimitrios Argyros.  Messalas, a former securities brokers, Rubizhevky, the former Chief Executive Officer of BioCube, and Garnick, an attorney, were charged with securities fraud conspiracy.  In particular, they are charged with defrauding potential BioCube ... Continue Reading

Former Chairman and CEO of Credit Union and Operator of Unlawful Bitcoin Exchange Convicted at Trial in Connection with Bribery and Fraud Scheme

On March 17, 2017, Trevon Gross, the former Chairman and CEO of HOPE FCU, a federal credit union in New Jersey with primarily low-income members, and Yuri Lebedev, a former employee of, an unlawful internet-based Bitcoin exchange, were found guilty after a four-week jury trial, in connection with a bribery scheme to gain control of HOPE FCU and a fraud scheme to evade detection of  Between 2013 and July 2015, Lebedev and his ... Continue Reading

Former Attorney and His Father Charged in Connection with $13 Million Ponzi Scheme

On February 16, 2017, Michael Kwasnik, a former New Jersey attorney, and his father, William Kwasnik, were indicted in connection with a $13 million Ponzi scheme.  Michael Kwasnik previously owned the law firm Kwasnik, Rodio, Kanowitz & Buckley P.C., and its successor firm Kwasnik, Kanowitz and Associates P.C., which had offices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  William Kwasnik owned an insurance company, Abby Grant, in New Jersey.  According to documents filed in the case and ... Continue Reading

Architect of Offshore Fraud Haven and Orchestrator of More than 40 Pump and Dump Schemes Sentenced to 6 and 12 Years in Prison, Respectively, for Executing a $250 Million Money Laundering Scheme

On February 6, 2017, Robert Bandfield, a U.S. citizen and resident of Belize, and Gregg. R. Mulholland, a dual U.S. and Canadian citizen, were sentenced to 6 and 12 years in prison, respectively, after each pled guilty to a $250 million money laundering scheme.  According to court documents, Bandfield, Mulholland, and their co-conspirators engaged in three interrelated schemes between 2009 and 2014:  (1) to fraudulently induce U.S. investors to purchase thinly-traded public companies in order ... Continue Reading

Western Union Admits Anti-Money Laundering and Consumer Fraud Violations, Forfeits $586 Million in Settlement with Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission

On January 19, 2017, the Western Union Company entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and agreed to forfeit $586 million in connection with a two-count criminal information charging the company with failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering (“AML”) program and aiding and abetting wire fraud.  According to admissions in the agreement, between 2004 and 2012, Western Union violated the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-fraud statutes by processing transactions for Western Union agents and others ... Continue Reading

Man Charged with Massive Computer Hacking Crimes against U.S. Financial Institutions Arrested

On December 14, 2016, Joshua Samuel Aaron, a United States citizen who had been residing in Russia, was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in connection with a massive computer hacking scheme.  Aaron and Gery Shalon were charged in November 2015 with orchestrating hacking crimes against U.S. financial institutions, brokerage firms, and financial news publishers.  According to the superseding indictment, Aaron and Shalon stole personal information from more than 100 million customers of the ... Continue Reading

President and CEO of Florida-Based Financial Firm Guilty of Money Laundering and Fraud in $179 Million Sham Loan Scheme

On November 18, 2016, Timothy G. Fisher, president and chief operating officer of First Farmers Financial LLC, a Florida-based financial firm, pled guilty to one count of money laundering in connection with the sale of $179 million in sham loans to a Milwaukee investment company.  On December 7, 2016, Nikesh A. Patel, First Farmers’ former CEO, pled guilty to five counts of wire fraud in connection with the same conduct.  According to their plea agreements, ... Continue Reading

Former Finance Executive Andrew Caspersen Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Defrauding Investors of Over $38 Million and Misappropriating Over $8 Million from His Former Employer

On November 4, 2016, Andrew Caspersen was sentenced in the SDNY to four years in prison for defrauding investors of over $38 million and misappropriating $8 million from Park Hill Group, his former employer.  Caspersen engaged in a Ponzi-like scheme to defraud investors, falsely claiming that their funds would be used to make secured loans to private equity firms that would earn an annual rate of return of 15 to 20 percent.  Investors wired a ... Continue Reading

Man Arrested for Scheme to Steal Over $1.5 Million from Financial Institution

On October 26, 2016, Dwayne C. Hans was arrested on wire fraud, computer fraud and money laundering charges.  According to the complaint, Hans misappropriated $134,000 from the corporate bank accounts of a U.S. financial institution by posing as an authorized representative of the institution.   Hans also accessed a website operated by the U.S. General Services Administration, where information about companies that provide services to the federal government is stored.  Hans replaced the bank account information ... Continue Reading

Owner of Offshore Brokerage Firm Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering

On October 21, 2016, Canadian citizen and permanent resident of Costa Rica Michael Randles pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Randles and co-conspirator Harold Bailey Gallison II controlled and operated Moneyline Brokers, an offshore brokerage company located in Costa Rica.  The company traded securities, especially microcap or “penny stocks,” through United States and offshore accounts.  According to the plea agreement, some of these trades were made in connection with market manipulation and securities ... Continue Reading

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo Delivers Remarks Regarding Offshore Tax Enforcement Efforts

On August 17, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo delivered remarks at the Panama Bankers Association Anti-Money Laundering Conference on the Tax Division’s offshore tax enforcement efforts.  Ciraolo stated that offshore tax enforcement is one of the Tax Division’s highest priorities.  She explained that the one role of the Tax Division is to petition the federal courts to enforce IRS requests for records related to taxpayers’ offshore assets and activities, sometimes through “John ... Continue Reading

Owner of Most-Visited Illegal File-Sharing Website Charged with Criminal Copyright Infringement

On July 30, Zachary T. Fardon, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced criminal copyright infringement charges brought against Ukrainian citizen Artem Vaulin, who allegedly owned and operated Kickass Torrents, or KAT, the world’s most-visited illegal file-sharing website.  Vaulin’s website allegedly enabled users to illegally reproduce and distribute hundreds of millions of copies of films, video games, television shows and music valued at more than $1 billion.  Fardon announced that Vaulin had been ... Continue Reading

United States Seeks to Recover more than $1 Billion Obtained from Corruption Involving Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund

On July 20, Attorney General Lynch and Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell announced the filing of civil forfeiture complaints seeking the forfeiture and recovery of assets associated with an international money laundering conspiracy.  The members of the conspiracy are alleged to be officials of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB”), their relatives, and associates, and they are alleged to have misappropriated more than $3.5 billion in funds belonging to 1MDB from 2009 through 2015.  1MDB was ... Continue Reading