Bank Fraud is Okay, But not Drugs or Terrorism

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I would like to think that many of the bankers involved in illegal money laundering are not actually aware of the full extent of their malfeasance. Maybe they should have done a better job looking at a client when they noticed a red flag. But sometimes you run across a case where the bankers are truly scumbags. The Department of Justice just brought charges in such a case.

A combined Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service sting lead to the arrests of two Caribbean-based bankers and their lawyer for conspiracy to launder money and hide the identities and assets of U.S. taxpayers. According to the indictment, Joshua Vandyk and Eric St-Cyr lived in the Cayman Islands and worked for an investment firm based there. Patrick Poulin was the firm’s attorney, based in Turks and Caicos. According to the indictment, Vandyk, St-Cyr and Poulin solicited U.S. citizens to use their services to hide assets from the U.S. government.

The case starts off as bread and butter fraud, trying to shield assets and avoid tax. The feds sent in three undercover agents to use the services to catch them red-handed. Vandyk and St-Cyr told the agents to create offshore foundations, with help from Poulin, so the investment firm wouldn’t look like it dealt with U.S. clients. Vandyk and St-Cyr then invested the money outside the United States in the name of the offshore foundation. The investment firm said it wouldn’t disclose its clients or their gains to the U.S. government, or send the clients any investment statements. The firm’s clients could monitor their investments online through the use of anonymous, numeric passcodes and liquidate their accounts on request.

What caught my attention was the defendants knew the money coming in was illegal money. One of undercover agents told all three defendants that the cash was coming from a bank fraud that he committed. Vandyk “indicated that this was acceptable to the co-conspirators so long as the money was not linked to drugs or terrorism.”

Of course, the information in this article comes only from the indictment, so the defendants have not had a chance to tell their side of the story.

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