Authorities capture banker wanted by FBI for fraud charges
Anyone facing charges for white-collar crimes in the Fairfield County area should take them very seriously. While fraud may not seem as serious as other kinds of crimes, charges can result in very long prison sentences if someone is convicted.
Law enforcement officials arrested a man wanted for $21 million in wire fraud whom many believed was dead. The 47-year-old former banker allegedly stole millions from investors by placing their money in the Montgomery Bank and Trust where he was director. Many believed he had killed himself after leaving a suicide note bad having been seen purchasing diving weights and tickets to board a ferry.
A Florida judge pronounced the man dead bases on the evidence, but the FBI was unconvinced. Officials continued to believe he was alive and using one of the boats he owned despite claiming he was boarding the ferry to jump into the sea and kill himself.
After his arrest, the man faced serious charges and pleaded guilty.
Even though the evidence against him seemed very bad, like all suspects, he was innocent until proven guilty under the law. The same is true for anyone in the Norwalk area facing white-collar charges. Seeking the counsel of the most experienced criminal defense attorney can help anyone facing such charges achieve the best outcome.
Source: New York Daily News, “'Dead' banker, Aubrey Lee Price, arrested on $21M fraud charges 18 months after claimed suicide,” Nina Golgowski, Jan. 1, 2014
Coffee roaster employee cleared of insider trading charges
Information technology workers often have access to their company’s sensitive financial data in the for of press releases, emails, and yet to be released profit and loss statements. By scrutinizing these documents, such workers may be able to gain insights into the company’s financial standing before it releases it to the general public.
It can be tempting to use such information for personal benefit and sharing that information to achieve financial gain may seem harmless, but the law considers such conduct insider trading, an illegal activity that officials vigorously enforce. Breaking this law can result in an arrest on white collar crime charges.
A 35-year-old former Green Mountain Coffee employee had faced insider trader charges in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut after officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission accused him of improperly profiting from information he obtained during his employment with the company. The charges stated that he accessed company information between 2010 and 2013 available to him as a system administrator that he and a friend then used to trade company stocks before it released its quarterly report. Their scheme allegedly netted them more than seven million dollars combined. Green Mountain Coffee terminated the man’s employment, and the SEC froze his assets while he also faced a jury trial.
Eventually, he was cleared of all charges.
Facing an insider trading trial can seem unreal and can create a great deal of stress for the accused. The best option for anyone facing such a situation is to contact an experienced defense attorney who can help them navigate the trial and launch the most effective defense possible to fight the charges.
Connecticut residents beware: Charges of financial crime on the rise
The FBI is investigating financial crimes such as mortgage fraud at a much higher rate. Allegations of mortgage fraud can range from a single borrower accidentally filing the wrong documents when applying for a loan to conspiracies involving dozens of home loans spanning multiple years.
Two recent cases showcase examples of the severe penalties that can come along with committing such crimes. The first case was a large-scale fraud operation where a homebuilder was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment and ordered to pay $4 million in restitution. The builder was found guilty of selling homes for a price far above their value, enabling him to obtain mortgages at the higher value.
Authorities discovered another scheme in Connecticut that spanned over many years wherein a man used hidden borrowers who provided false documents to obtain loans. Offcials accused the man of taking over 20 fraudulent loans totaling over $10 million.
Mortgage fraud basics
Mortgage fraud can cover a variety of illegal activities, including:
- Fraud, wherein individuals provide false documents while applying for a loan such as altered pay stubs.
- Equity skimming, wherein a hidden buyer provides false credit reports or other documents used to apply for a loan. The hidden buyer signs the property rights over to an investor who makes no payments and rents the property out until the bank forecloses on it.
- Inflated appraisal, wherein an appraiser assigns a much higher value to the property than it is worth on behalf of a mortgage broker.
- Fraud, equity skimming, and inflated appraisal are only a few of the kinds of mortgage fraud that can lead to someone being charged.
Mortgage fraud charges on the rise
President Obama created the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task force to aggressively investigate and prosecute individuals engaged in financial crimes. It is the largest group of law enforcement agencies ever created to investigate financial crimes. In addition to the federal effort, Connecticut established the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force in 2009 to investigate foreclosures and short-sale schemes.
According to the FBI, the Justice Department has investigated over 10,000 financial fraud cases in just the past three years.
If someone has been charged with a financial crime, they must take the charges seriously. Their first step should be to contact an expert financial fraud attorney to handle their case and determine what resolutions are available and will be in their best interest.
Federal tax evasion law brings debate
Many people are surprised by the extensiveness and severity of federal and state white-collar crime sentencing. It can result in heavy fines and extensive prison time. The severity of the punishment shows that the government takes financial crimes like tax evasion, financial fraud, identity theft, and embezzlement very seriously.
Since so many white-collar crimes are technology based and, therefore, fast paced, the enforcement world must adapt to the ever-changing landscape in its effort to find and prosecute offenders.
A new piece of white-collar crime legislation targeted toward tax evasion was recently announced. Given that a sizeable group of Connecticut residents in places like Stamford, New Haven, and Greenwich have offshore holdings, they should take special notice.
The government designed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA) to go after tax evasion carried out by using foreign bank accounts to shelter money against taxation. The act requires foreign banks and financial institutions to report to U.S. tax authorities the client information of any American holding over $50,000 in foreign accounts.
The government plans to enforce compliance with foreign banks by including a strict requirement: any institution that does not report as required by the act faces the potential of being removed from being able to conduct business in the United States beginning in 2014. Many foreign financiers claim that the law is unjustified, with an official from China’s central bank saying the act makes, "unreasonable costs for foreign financial institutions and directly contravenes many countries' privacy and data protection laws."
The Chinese official noted that FACTA is only expected to net $8 billion in revenue from once-evaded accounts over the next decade. Further, the official stated, a more effective system would be to coordinate between American and host country regulators rather than demanding compliance from foreign financial institutions.
While world financiers may be debating FACTA, the requirement for American taxpayers to comply is real and non-negotiable. The best approach someone can take if they have been charged or are uncertain where they stand would be to contact a criminal defense lawyer for advice and to prepare the best defense possible.
Our firm can help defendants prepare a strong financial crime defense case. For more information, contact our Connecticut financial fraud law page.
Source: Reuters, "China central bank official slams U.S. tax dodging law," Michael Flaherty, Nov. 28, 2012
Pastor under investigation for misusing church member’s money
The law allows for hundreds of types of crimes that a person can be charged with, but not everyone who is charged is guilty of a crime. People sometimes people in Fairfield County face criminal charges because of innocent mistakes.
According to authorities, a pastor from Stanford had been accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a member of his congregation to give to a convicted felon. According to the reports, the pastor had control of an elderly parishioner’s estate and began loaning the felon money from it in 2009.
Court papers report that, over the years, he withdrew nearly $174,000 from the estate that he reportedly admitted he gave to a woman who was convicted of forgery and larceny. He claims, however, that he loaned the money to the woman because she promised to pay it back with interest. Further, there were no reports that the woman who received the money did anything illegal with it, and she has not been charged with a crime at this time.
While there are still many details of this case yet to be sorted out, the pastor was sentenced to two years in prison.