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Tag: money laundering

Manafort Faces Renewed Scrutiny over $40M in ‘Suspicious Transactions’

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort is facing renewed scrutiny after special counsel Robert Mueller resurrected a shelved federal investigation that previously identified $40 million in “suspicious transactions” to and from Manafort’s companies, according to BuzzFeed News. 

The discovery indicates the scope of Manafort’s alleged crimes are much broader than initially when he was indicted in October 2017 for an alleged $18 million money laundering scheme involving pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych.

The FBI uncovered the transactions primarily in 2014 and 2015 as part of an investigation to tackle international kleptocracy, and agents interviewed Manafort at his attorney’s office in Washington D.C. At the time, Manafort denied wrongdoing and said he knew nothing of Yanukovych’s government reportedly stealing money, according to internal FBI emails. Although Manafort pledged to disclose documents to the bureau, he never did.

The probe fizzled, according to two former federal law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation, because FBI leaders determined Manafort’s crimes weren’t significant enough to warrant charges.

“We had him in 2014,” one of the former officials said. “In hindsight, we could have nailed him then.”

The officials said a lack of resources made it too difficult to build a complex case against the former Ukrainian president, so the investigation petered out.

In the meantime, banks continued to alert federal officials of suspicious transactions involving Manafort, who has pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges related to his work with eastern European countries. The charges include money laundering, conspiracy against the U.S. and tax fraud. 

Mueller reopened the investigation in September and used some of the findings to help indict Manafort. Mueller is considering leveling new charges against Manafort as investigators comb through the suspicious transactions.

His business partner, Rick Gates, plans to plead guilty to fraud charges in exchange for a reduced sentence and his testimony against Manafort.

FBI Investigating Whether Suspected Russian Mobster Funneled Money to NRA to Help Trump During Election

Russian banker Alexander Torshin, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating whether a Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin, mobsters and money laundering illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency.

Two sources familiar with the investigation told McClatchy that FBI counterintelligence investigators are scrutinizing the activities of Aleksander Torshin, who has been described as a godfather of a major Russian criminal organization.

Torshin, a leading figure in President Vladimir Putin’s party, is a lifetime member of the NRA. Authorities said Torshin met with Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., at an NRA event in Kentucky in May 2016, when his father won an early endorsement from the gun-rights group.

The investigation comes as special counsel Robert Mueller continues a far-reaching probe into alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia to undermine Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the 2016 election. 

Disgraced Ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert Released From Federal Prison

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, 75, who had long been regarded in the public eye as just a Regular Joe from the Midwest — that is  until his scandal emerged —  has been released from a federal prison hospital in Minnesota and transferred to a halfway house in Chicago, Josh Gerstein of Politico reports.

Hastert pleaded guilty last year to violating money laundering laws  in a case that shocked the country and Beltway insiders. The scandal stemmed from hush money he paid to conceal sexual abuse he committed of students while he was a high school teacher and coach several decades ago.

A federal judge in Chicago sentenced him to 15 months.

Hastert was never charged in the sexual abuse cases because of the statute of limitations. But Politico notes that two men are suing him, alleging they were abused as kids.

 

Former Homeland Security Investigations Agent Accused of Stealing Drug Money

homeland-security-investigationsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Homeland Security Investigations agent faces numerous federal charges alleging he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug cash and laundered it through real estate transactions and banks.

Tyrone Cedric Duren, 46, and his wife, Jennifer Lynn Duren, face charges of money laundering, bank fraud conspiracy, making false statements to federal agents and structuring financial transactions, the San Diego Union Tribune reports. 

Authorities arrested the couple on Nov. 30.

“The evidence obtained during the investigation and detailed in the complaint, paints Duren as an intelligent but deceitful person, sophisticated in the art of concealing assets and engages in international travel to hide assets,” Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Rapp wrote in a motion arguing for Duren’s detention. “He has used his position as a law enforcement agent for illegal financial gain to support himself and family with a lavish lifestyle.”

The couple was released on bail after pleading not guilty.

In 2008, Durant began his career with Homeland Security and was assigned to the Bulk Cash Smuggling Task Force, which focused on drug trafficking.

American Families of Victims Killed By Drug Traffickers Sue HSBC Bank for Allegedly Laundering Money and Supporting Cartels

 

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By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

American families of victims killed by “ruthless” Mexican drug cartels are suing the HSBC Holdings PLC, saying it “knowingly provided continuous and systematic material support to the cartels and their acts of terrorism by laundering billions of  dollars for them.”

“As a proximate result of HSBC’s material support to the Mexican drug cartels, numerous lives, including those of the Plaintiffs, have been destroyed,” said the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Brownsville, Tex.

HSBC said it plans to fight the allegations, according to Bloomberg News.

The lawsuit mentions some of the people who were killed by the cartel.

The lawsuit stated:

Victims Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila, Jr. were Special Agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), a federal law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security. On February 15, 2011, while on assignment transporting cargo to Mexico City, the two were attacked in broad daylight by two car loads of Los Zetas militants on a highway outside of the city of San Luis Potosí. While travelling in an armored vehicle displaying U.S. diplomatic plates, the agents were chased down, flanked, and forced off the road. Ignoring cries from the Special Agents that they were U.S. citizens and diplomats, the militants fired over 100 rounds from AK-47s and other military-grade weapons inside and at the vehicle, killing Special Agent Zapata and seriously wounding Special Agent Avila.

In another case, the lawsuit stated:

Victim Lesley Enriquez Redelfs was an employee of the U.S. Consulate Office in Ciudad Juárez, and her husband, victim Arthur Redelfs, was a detention officer for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department. On Saturday, March 13, 2010, Arthur, Lesley, and their sevenmonth-old daughter attended a children’s birthday party in Ciudad Juárez hosted by the U.S. Consulate Office. As they were leaving the birthday party in their SUV, they were followed and ambushed by members of an enforcement arm of the Juárez Cartel. Lesley, who was four months pregnant, was shot twice in the head. Arthur made a desperate dash for the American border as the Juárez Cartel enforcers chased the Redelfs through the streets, spraying their car with more bullets. Just before reaching the border, Arthur was gunned down. The Redelfs’ infant daughter was found screaming in the backseat. At the same time, other Juárez Cartel enforcers chased down and killed the spouse of another U.S. Consulate employee as he left the same birthday party with
his two young daughters, who were also wounded in the attack.

Bloomberg reports that HSBC, in 2012,  paid $1.9 billion to resolve a criminal investigation into whether it violated U.S. sanctions laws and laundered at least $881 million on behalf of drug cartels.

Read Lawsuit 

FBI, Justice Department Trying to Determine Role Goldman Sachs Played in Corruption Case

goldman-sachs-logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has teamed up with the Justice Department to determine whether Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was involved in corruption and money laundering at 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), Business Insider reports. 

At this point, the inquiry does not suggest criminal wrongdoing by Goldman Sachs.

Investigators “have yet to determine if the matter will become a focus of any investigations into the 1MDB scandal,” the Wall Street Journal quoted a spokeswoman for the FBI as saying.

Officials have been investigating allegations that 1MDB management sent nearly $700 million to bank accounts of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Ex-Border Patrol Agent Who Laundered Drug Money Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

 A former Border Patrol agent who laundered drug money was sentenced to two years in prison Thursday, the Arizona Daily Star. 

Raimundo Borjas was convicted of money laundering after trying to conceal $61,600 in deposits. 

After he’s released from prison, Borjas was ordered to spend three years of supervision and to avoid all law enforcement jobs.

Borjas was fired in October 2014.

Other Stories of Interest


Ex-Former Border Patrol Agent Indicted for Second Time Over Proceeds from Cocaine Operation

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former U.S. Border Patrol agent has been indicted – for the second time in a superseding indictment.

Raimundo Borjas was issued with a revised indictment that charges whim with 10 counts of money laundering on top of the original charges of trying to avoid detection of deposited funds, the Arizona Daily Star reports.

Originally indicted in April 2013, Borjas is now accused of making nine cash deposits totaling $61,600 in 2012 from proceeds of a cocaine distribution operation.

“He disputes the entirety of the allegations made against him,” Borjas’ attorney, Stephen G. Ralls, said.

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