FIBG trial averted as final defendant pleads guilty

The final defendant in the criminal prosecution of five former officers and directors of the First International Bank of Grenada has pleaded guilty in the United States. Laurent Barnabe, a 68-year-old Canadian national, pleaded guilty to two counts of money laundering at the U. S. District Court for the District of Oregon on March 27, 2006 - just seven days before the case was due to be tried. Barnabe's plea agreement includes a recommendation to the court that he be sentenced to six years in prison. Sentencing has been set for June 11, 2007.

Insider Talking: March 9, 2007

The web-sites of two companies whose dubious activities have been highlighted in recent editions of OffshoreAlert have been dismantled over the last few weeks; On February 12, 2007, OffshoreAlert received an email from Kristen Lawson, a “Legislative Advisor” with Miller Thomson LLP, a law firm based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Telecommunications and cable television firms in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands have been dragged into a long-running legal dispute over the ownership of a $900,000 airplane that was damaged in Hurricane Ivan; Under Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, Grenada has become the poster country for corruption and banking fraud; OffshoreAlert recently learned that U. S. Bank N.A. obtained a default judgment for $21 million against British-based alleged fraudster Sendjer Shefket and his British firm Target International Funds Ltd. at federal court in the USA on May 24, 2006; Convicted white-collar criminals who believe they are punished too severely in the United States should be thankful they don't operate in China; and While the U. S. legal system does not yet offer death as a punishment for fraudsters, it is still less than hospitable for convicted white-collar criminals, as Martin A. Armstrong can attest to.

Terry Neal-related companies sue each other

Two companies that at one time or another have been controlled by imprisoned offshore fraudster Terry Neal are plaintiff and defendant in litigation filed recently in the United States.One of them, Crowne Gold Inc., claims that the other, Nevis American Trust Company Ltd., was involved in a conspiracy to defraud it of at least US$2.5 million.

Grenada sued for $21 m after defaulting on loans from Taiwan bank

The Government of Grenada has become the latest impoverished nation to suffer the economic consequences of switching diplomatic allegiances from Taiwan to China. The Export-Import Bank of The Republic of China, a Taiwan-based, state-owned specialized bank for export and import credits, is seeking the recovery of $21.6 million, plus interest at $5,761 per day, at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of New York regarding four loans that are in default.

Video of Grenada PM receiving ‘bribe’ surfaces in US, Grenada Gov’t refuses to request a copy

Grenada authorities have turned down the offer of a video tape showing their Prime Minister receiving a $500,000 cash ‘bribe' from investment fraudster Eric Resteiner, OffshoreAlert can reveal.They were notified more than 12 months ago by Resteiner's attorney, John Amabile, that a copy of the six-year-old tape still existed and that it could be obtained through a formal request for assistance to the authorities in the United States, where Resteiner is in custody awaiting sentencing for seven counts of mail and wire fraud to which he pleaded guilty earlier this year at the U. S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Insider Talking: November 9, 2006

The cold reality of life behind bars has persuaded former offshore banker Paul Morgan Jones to start turning over his assets to the Receiver of Cash 4 Titles, which perpetrated one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in history, operating from

United Kingdom: Jared Brook et al

Application for the appointment of a Commissioner to collect evidence for a criminal investigation into Jared Brook, Lincoln Fraser and others for alleged investment fraud involving the Imperial Consolidated Group.

Skirving and Regale plead guilty to conspiring to launder FIBG fraud proceeds

Two defendants face lengthy prison sentences after admitting their involvement in an investment fraud perpetrated by the First International Bank of Grenada.Robert Skirving and Rita Regale each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering regarding FIBG's fraudulent proceeds at the U. S. District Court for the District of Oregon on July 19, 2006.

Fraud charges brought against five former Imperial Consolidated Group insiders

Five former insiders in the Imperial Consolidated Group were today each charged with conspiracy to defraud in the United Kingdom. The defendants are Jared Bentley Brook, 36, of Manchester, England; Lincoln Julian Fraser, 35, of Brookenby, Lincolnshire, England; his brother, Nicholas Grant Fraser, 33, of Kirton Lindsey, Lincolnshire, England; William Godley, 58, of Almancil, Portugal; and Robert Statham Raven, 46, of Usk, Gwent, Wales.

Ex-FIBG insider Doug Ferguson pleads guilty to money laundering

The former head of a sham offshore insurer has become the third defendant to plead guilty in a criminal case in the United States against former officers and directors of the First International Bank of Grenada. Douglas Christie Ferguson, 74, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering at a change of plea hearing at the U. S. District Court for the District of Oregon on March 19, 2007 just two weeks before his jury trial was set to begin.

Ex-Grenada Diplomat pleads guilty to fraud charges

An American who is suspected of bribing the Prime Minister of Grenada for appointing him to a diplomatic position has pleaded guilty to unrelated fraud charges in the United States.Eric Resteiner, 46, pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud at a change of plea hearing that was held at the U. S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on February 8, 2006. He is due to be sentenced on May 8. Under a plea agreement, the remaining 53 counts, including 18 regarding money laundering, which carry the harshest penalties, will be dismissed.

Two more ex-Grenada offshore bankers convicted of fraud

The operators of yet another Grenada-licensed offshore bank have been convicted of fraud-related charges in the United States. Taansen Fairmont Sumeru, a.k.a. David Freeston, of Santa Barbara, California, and Jerome Harold Hall, a.k.a. JeRu Hall, of Fairfield, Iowa, were convicted jury of eight counts of securities fraud and nine counts of wire fraud at the U. S. District Court for the Central District of California on January 24, 2006. Sumeru was also convicted of conspiring to launder money and failing to file federal income tax returns for 1999 and 2000.

Insider Talking: January 4, 2006

OffshoreAlert has previously reported about the long-running battle between Taiwan and China for influence in the Caribbean in which impoverished countries receive sizeable financial assistance in return for officially recognizing - or refusing to recognize - Taiwan as a country, depending on who is offering the most attractive deal; The Central Bank of Belize issued a warning about United eXchange International Bank on December 1, 2005; Richard Fogerty and James Cleaver, as joint official liquidators of Bancredit Cayman Limited (in liquidation), have filed two civil lawsuits in the United States in an attempt to collect $2.34 million of allegedly unpaid loans that were issued to customers of the banks; Why did First International Bank of Grenada founder Gilbert Allen Ziegler change his name to Van Arthur Brink in June, 1998?[ Florida-based attorney Nigel Scott Grant and his son, Nicolas E. Grant-St. James, who previously established and, in at least one instance, operated sham credit unions in St. Kitts & Nevis, are back in business together, this time onshore; and Kenneth Krys and Christopher Stride, of RSM Cayman Islands, were appointed as Joint Provisional Liquidators of PFA Assurance Group, Ltd. on September 19, 2005 following an investigation by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.

Insider Talking: December 5, 2005

Liechtenstein-based offshore provider Bryan Jeeves and his Jeeves Group of Companies have been named as defendants in more civil lawsuits alleging racketeering that have been filed at federal courts in the United States regarding South Carolina-registered Derivium Capital LLC; Ex-Bahamas resident and former Grenada diplomat Eric Resteiner is unhappy with the way a criminal action against him is proceeding at the U. S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, where he is defending 42 counts of fraud and 18 counts of money laundering; and In a move that shames its counterparts in the United Kingdom, Japan and other countries in Europe and the Caribbean, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission has reprimanded an investment broker and suspended its major shareholder and managing director for three years for “gross negligence” and “serious misconduct” in selling investment products connected with the Imperial Consolidated Group at a time when the group - which was based in the UK and Grenada- was widely known to be suspect.

Operation ‘Bermuda Short’: Conviction Statistics

An analysis of Operation 'Bermuda Short', including which defendants were convicted or acquitted and length of sentences. These defendants were Serdar Kalaycioglu, Martin Chambers, Anthony Damato, Kevan Garner, Walter Dorow, Bruce Bertman, Michael Reiter, Geoffrey Gazda, James Cary Parrish, Jeffrey Senger, Melvin Levine, Jerry Poole, Charles Cini, Lawrence Gallo, Bruce Cowen, Daniel Charboneau, Thomas Steinbach, Gordon Novak, Harold Joliffe, Howard Kerbel, Greg Balk, Barry Berman, Vincent Barone, Dax Ross, David Rich, George Doumanis, Michael Puorro, Blair Valentine, Ray Hutchison, Frank Dickey Jr., Daniel Bender, Paul Lemmon, Bruce Biddick, John Purdy, Ronaldo Horvat, Mark Valentine, Joseph Huard Jr., Cris Sagnelli, Michael Vlahovic, Douglas Rasberry, Richard Greene, Tim Rice, Ashley Sosner, Andrew Proctor, Marshall Klein, Mario Turcotte, Sheldon Mickelson, Richard Carson, Dennis Epstein, Kenneth Liebscher, Michael Hepburn, Charles Arnold, Les Price, James Kelly, Justyn Feldman, Robert Wilder, and Paul deRome.

PayPal records targeted by IRS in offshore tax evasion investigation

The IRS has asked a U. S. federal court for permission to serve a “John Doe” summons on Internet money transfer firm PayPal Inc. as part of a clampdown on tax evasion using offshore credit and debit cards.“The records requested in the summons will identify the holders of bank accounts at, or payment cards issued by banks in, the listed jurisdictions, information which is not otherwise readily available to the Internal Revenue Service,” stated the IRS in its petition.

Ex-Grenada diplomat Viktor Kozeny indicted for second time in US

Bahamas resident and former Grenada diplomat Viktor Kozeny faces extradition to the United States after being criminally indicted for a second time in New York.Kozeny, 42, and co-defendants David Pinkerton, 44, who was in charge of American International Group's private equity group, and Frederic Bourke Jr., 59, a private investor, have been accused of participating in a scheme to bribe senior government officials in Azerbaijan from 1997 to 1999 so they could gain control of a state-owned oil company during privatization.

Court freezes assets of former Imperial Consolidated CEO

The High Court in the United Kingdom has issued an order freezing the world wide assets of Bill Godley, a former CEO with the Imperial Consolidated Group. It was entered on July 28, 2005 following an application by Imperial's administrators,

Prison sentence for another Grenada banker

Yet another principal of a fraudulently-operated, Grenada-licensed offshore bank has received a prison-term for fraud in the United States.Carl H. Lane, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $1.058 million at the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on June 29, 2005.

Insider Talking: July 5, 2005

United States-based, British national Nigel Scott Grant has reared his head again, a few years after OffshoreAlert exposed his involvement in sham offshore credit unions, at least one of which was used to commit investment fraud; The U. S. District Court for the Central District of California has granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC and against a publicly-traded firm that was closely associated with a closed-end investment fund that was once listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange; A Commission of Inquiry, which some people believe is a sham, has begun in Grenada regarding a bribery allegation against Keith Mitchell; Still in Grenada, telecommunications firm Cable & Wireless recently settled a libel action brought by sue-happy Keith Mitchell for allowing derogatory messages about him concerning the alleged Resteiner cash bribe to be posted on a web-site it hosted, reported the Associated Press on April 26, 2005; Bruce Cowen is sentenced to prison for his involvement in the fraudulently-operated Lancer Offshore group of hedge funds; The Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission issues warnings against several businesses; and The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission have entered into an Undertaking on Exchange of Information in Securities Matters.

USA v. Gilbert A. Ziegler et al: Third Superseding Indictment

Third Superseding Indictment in USA v. Gilbert A. Ziegler, a.k.a. Van A. Brink; Rita L. Regale, a.k.a. Rita Brunges; Douglas C. Ferguson, Robert J. Skirving, and Laurent E. Barnabe, a.k.a. Larry Barnabe, at the U. S. District Court for the District of Oregon.

Grenada: Micro Systems Ltd. et al

Application for the appointment of a Commissioner to collect evidence for a criminal investigation in Grenada into Cecile de Lisle Barker for alleged fraud and money laundering regarding accounts maintained by E-Cafe Ltd., Micro Systems Ltd. and Grenada Development Company Inc. at Capital Bank International.

Uproar in Grenada over nomination for Attorney General

The Eastern Caribbean's Judicial and Legal Services Commission has rejected the Government of Grenada's nomination of Hugh Wildman as Attorney General. The decision, announced on March 1, 2005, follows a concerted effort by Grenada's legal community to block the appointment of Wildman, whom they believe is unsuitable for such an important position.

Eric Resteiner may be close to plea agreement with US prosecutors

Former Bahamas resident and Grenada diplomat Eric Resteiner is considering entering into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in Boston, where he has been indicted for alleged investment fraud. Details of a possible deal were contained in a joint filing by the U. S. Attorney's Office and Resteiner's counsel at the U. S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on December 2, 2004.

Sixth person arrested in Imperial Consolidated investigation

A sixth person has been arrested in the United Kingdom as part of an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into the Imperial Consolidated Group, which collapsed in 2002 owing approximately $400 million. Robert Statham Raven, a 44-year-old British national believed to reside in continental Europe, was arrested on Christmas Eve in Monmouthshire, Wales, where he was apparently spending the holidays.

Criminal charges dropped against David Finzer

A criminal indictment in the United States against offshore provider Raymond David Finzer has been dismissed more than four years after it was returned.The 33-count indictment for mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering was dismissed with prejudice on July 14, 2004 at the US District Court for the District of Utah, meaning it can never be re-filed.

Belize and Grenada targeted in new IRS action

A Florida-based firm with client-banks in Belize and Grenada has been targeted in the latest court action in the United States as part of an IRS investigation into tax evasion using offshore structures.An order granting an IRS petition to serve a "John Doe" summons on TecniCard Inc., of Coral Way, Miami, was granted by the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on August 5, 2004.

IRS receives permission to serve subpoena on First Data Corp.

The world's largest processor of credit card payments has been ordered by a United States court to assist the IRS in its investigation into tax evasion using offshore accounts.First Data Corp. must turn over information about transactions by holders of American Express, Visa and MasterCard credit cards that were issued by or on behalf of certain offshore financial institutions.

Newt Utopia: Around the Caribbean

The Bahamas, St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, FATF/OECD, ECCB  Nations, Offshore Gaming, and Newt's right - again.

Judgment against LOM and RBC appears to be defective

A $6.4 million default judgment in the United States against offshore investment firm Lines Overseas Management Ltd. and an offshore brokerage arm of the Royal Bank of Canada appears to be legally defective.Research by OffshoreAlert indicates that the summonses against LOM and RBC Dominion Securities were served improperly in December, 2001, meaning that the judgment, that was entered on July 1, 2004, should be dismissed if challenged.

Default judgment against Lines Overseas Management and RBC Dominion Securities

A default judgment for $6.4 million has been entered in the United States against offshore investment firm Lines Overseas Management Ltd. and an offshore brokerage arm of the Royal Bank of Canada in connection with an allegation of banking and securities fraud.The judgment against LOM and RBC Dominion Securities, of the Turks & Caicos Islands, was entered at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama on July 1, 2004 after they failed to defend a civil complaint after being served in December, 2001, according to court records.

Insider Talking: June 30, 2004

In separate actions, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority has announced its intention to revoke the Mutual Fund Administrator's license held by Signature Financial Group (Grand Cayman) Ltd., c/o P. O. Box 2494 GT, Grand Cayman, and that it has revoked the unrestricted Class 'B' Insurer's License held by Potomac Indemnity Company, effective April 6, 2004; Controversial newsletter publisher Pirate Investor LLC has obtained a subpoena against Yahoo! Inc. as part of its attempt to identify an anonymous Internet user who is suspected of a breach of copyright; The Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission issued notices over April-June, 2004 urging the public to "exercise the greatest possible caution" when dealing with several businesses; The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks in the United States, has issued advisories several 'banks'; If anyone wants a blueprint of how not to attempt to transport more than $10,000 out of the United States without correctly filling out the proper Customs forms, they could do a lot worse than study the case of 23-year-old Bahamian national Antunya Shenique Rahming; A Costa Rica-based private bank that targeted expatriates - Corporación Elca, S.A., more commonly known as Banco Elca - has been closed down by local regulator Superintendencia General de Entidades Financieras; Evidence of corruption against Grenada's Prime Minister Keith Mitchell and former Director of Public Prosecutions and current "Special Prosecutor" Hugh Wildman while he was Director of Public Prosecutions was referred to in a Judgment delivered in the UK High Court on June 24, 2004 in a civil lawsuit that had been filed against former First International Bank of Grenada CEO Lawrence Victor Jones by his former fiancé, Kerry Cox; Apart from being home to many a fraudulently-operated offshore company, the South Pacific island of Niue is also one of the biggest producers of Internet pornography in the world; The Australian Securities and Investments Commission announced on June 11, 2004 that it had concluded its proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales against Trans Pacific Insurance Corporation, a Cayman Islands-registered insurers, and Triton Underwriting Insurance Agency Pty Ltd.; and Under the Progressive Labour Party Government, Bermuda — for so long a model, small-country jurisdiction — is hurtling towards being as openly corrupt as any of the islands in the Caribbean that it has historically looked down on.

Eric Resteiner extradited from Singapore to the US

Former Grenada diplomat Eric Resteiner has been extradited from Singapore to the United States to answer a 60-count criminal indictment for fraud and money laundering. Resteiner, who is a United States national, was extradited to the United States from Singapore, where he was arrested on February 11, 2004, after losing his fight against extradition proceedings. He made his first appearance at the U. S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on June 18, 2004.