FBI: “Former NBA Player and CEO of the George Group Convicted on all Counts in $2 Million Ponzi Scheme”

October 2, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on September 30, 2013 released the following:

“TRENTON, NJ— C. Tate George, former NBA basketball player and the CEO of purported real estate development firm The George Group, was convicted today on all counts on which he was indicted in connection with his role in orchestrating a $2 million investment fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

The jury deliberated four hours before convicting George, 45, of Newark, of four counts of wire fraud after a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper. George was immediately remanded into federal custody to await sentencing, which is scheduled for Jan. 16, 2014.

According to documents filed in this case and evidence presented at trial:

George, a former player for the New Jersey Nets and Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball teams, held himself out as the CEO of The George Group and claimed to have more than $500 million in assets under management. He pitched prospective investors, including several former professional athletes, to invest with the firm and told them their money would be used to fund The George Group’s purchase and development of real estate development projects, including projects in Connecticut and New Jersey. George represented to some prospective investors that their funds would be held in an attorney trust account and personally guaranteed the return of their investments, with interest.

Based on George’s representations, investors invested more than $2 million in The George Group between 2005 and 2011, which he deposited in both the firm’s and his personal bank account. Instead of using investments to fund real estate development projects as promised, George used the money from new investors to pay existing investors in Ponzi-scheme fashion, as well as paying for his daughter’s Sweet 16, extensive renovations on his New Jersey home (that has since been foreclosed), the mortgage on a New Jersey home, the mortgage on a Florida home, taxes to the IRS, and traffic tickets. The defendant gave money to family members and friends. He also spent $2,905 for a reality video about himself (a “sizzle reel” for “The Tate Show,” is available on YouTube). The George Group had virtually no income-generating operations.

Each of the wire fraud counts on which he was convicted is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; postal inspectors of the USPIS, under the direction of Postal Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates; and criminal investigators with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, with the investigation leading to today’s conviction.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph B. Shumofsky and Zach Intrater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.

This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit http://www.stopfraud.gov.”;

Federal Wire Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. § 1343

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Gershon Barkany Charged by a Criminal Complaint Alleging He Defrauded Investors of $50 Million in a Real Estate Ponzi Scheme

March 29, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on March 28, 2013 released the following:

“Far Rockaway Man Charged with Defrauding Victims of $50 Million in a Real Estate Ponzi Scheme

Earlier today, FBI agents arrested Gershon Barkany based on a criminal complaint alleging that the Far Rockaway man defrauded investors by promising to use their money in “risk-free” deals to purchase and then immediately re-sell at a profit large real estate properties located in New York City and New Jersey. In fact, the complaint alleges that no such deals existed and the defendant defrauded victims of more than $50 million.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), New York Field Office. The defendant’s initial appearance is scheduled for this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson at the United States Courthouse in Central Islip, New York.

According to the criminal complaint that was unsealed this morning, Barkany induced at least five investors to wire transfer large sums of money supposedly to purchase real estate in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, and Atlantic City, New Jersey. According to one of the investor victims, Barkany claimed that the sellers of these properties would only close on the real estate sales contracts after Barkany had located a purchaser who would be willing to buy the property from Barkany at a higher price. In that way, Barkany assured the victim that the real estate deals would be “risk free.”

In fact, the real estate deals did not exist. As part of Barkany’s Ponzi scheme, he diverted some of the funds he received to pay investors whom he had earlier defrauded. The defendant also lost some of the funds in gambling and otherwise used the money for his own benefit.

“Barkany’s victims sought the security of investing in real estate. Instead, they were taken for millions by the defendant’s lies and deception,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “As alleged, the promised high returns were only for him, as he used his victims’ money to gamble and keep his scheme afloat. Today’s arrest demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.” Ms. Lynch added that the government’s investigation is continuing.

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Venizelos stated, “As alleged, Barkany promised a get-rich-quick investment scheme that really had potential to enrich only him. There were no investment properties, just a house of cards built on a foundation of lies. There may be no truly risk-free investments, but investors are entitled to honesty.”

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher C. Caffarone.

Defendant
Gershon Barkany
Far Rockaway
Age: 29″

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Three Coachella Valley Residents Arrested for Alleged Detroit-Area Ponzi Scheme After Successful Joint Operations with Cathedral City and Palm Springs Police

September 15, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 14, 2012 released the following:

“Three individuals wanted on federal fraud charges alleging they victimized hundreds while operating an alleged $25 million investment scheme were arrested in the Coachella Valley, announced Timothy Delaney, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

Mr. Delaney made the announcement on behalf of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, the Cathedral City Police Department, and the Palms Springs Police Department.

An indictment filed in March 2012 in the Eastern District of Michigan charged five defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud for their alleged roles in an investment scheme where hundreds of victims were allegedly defrauded of millions of dollars. Three of the defendants are Coachella Valley residents. Agents with the FBI’s Palm Springs Resident Agency, part of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division, assisted the FBI’s Detroit Field Office in locating the three Coachella Valley-based defendants following the indictment. Agents in Palm Springs requested assistance from the Cathedral City (California) and Palm Springs (California) Police Departments in locating and apprehending the fugitives.

Ronald Lee Brito, 61, and Bonnie Brito, 66, both of Rancho Mirage, California, were taken into custody on August 10, 2010, by officers with the Cathedral City Police Department after a safely executed vehicle-stop in Cathedral City.

Thomas Winston Moore, 68, of Palm Springs, California, was arrested at his residence on September 8 by officers with the Palm Springs Police Department.

The 64-count indictment alleges defendants participated in the Ponzi scheme between 2005 and 2012 and outlines an investment scheme where victims were promised lucrative returns on their investments in, among other things, valuable minerals extracted from a gold mine in Arizona. The indictment alleges the defendants used various corporate names, including Infinity Trading, LLC; GetMoni.com; and PJM

Kingman Mine to lure approximately 500 investors. The government has stated that the scheme brought in investments totaling more than $25 million.

Ronald and Bonnie Brito had an initial appearance in California and in the Eastern District of Michigan once they were returned to Detroit. Ronald Brito was remanded to federal custody and Bonnie Brito was released on bond.

Thomas Moore had an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Riverside on Monday, September 10, and was remanded to federal custody pending removal to Detroit.

This investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Detroit Field Office and will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Michigan.

The fugitive investigation involving defendants Ronald Brito, Bonnie Brito, and Thomas Winston Moore was conducted by officers with the Cathedral City Police Department; Palm Springs Police Department; and agents with the FBI in Palm Springs and Detroit. The United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles (Central District of California) provided considerable assistance during the California portion of this investigation.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Federal indictment charges 7 people in alleged $17 million multistate mortgage scams, Ponzi schemes

September 15, 2012

OregonLive.com on September 14, 2012 released the following:

“By The Associated Press

A federal indictment unsealed Friday charged seven people with running a multistate Ponzi scheme and related mortgage fraud scams that prosecutors said cost investors and lenders a combined $17 million.

The years-long investigation resulted in the arrest of 55-year-old Lawrence Leland Loomis. He and his father-in-law, John Hagener, 76, were charged with operating a fraudulent California-based investment fund that cost more than 100 investors more than $7 million.

Both men are from Granite Bay, a wealthy Sacramento suburb.

Hagener’s attorney, William Portanova, said his client would plead not guilty in federal court in Sacramento. It was not immediately clear if the others had retained attorneys.

Loomis and five other defendants are also charged in a 50-count indictment with costing lenders $10 million in losses through two mortgage fraud schemes.

Prosecutors said all three frauds were operated through Loomis Wealth Solutions, which was based in California and also worked with investors in Illinois, Washington and elsewhere from 2006 through 2008.

“We are bringing to justice some of those who are responsible for the mortgage crisis in this district and elsewhere,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said in a statement announcing the indictments.

Portanova said the investigation was under way for at least four years before his client was charged.

“We’re looking forward to a resolution of this matter. It’s been a long investigation and we’re all ready to move forward,” Portanova said. “Large-scale, long-term white collar investigations are by their nature measured by calendars, not stopwatches.”

Loomis and Hagener were charged with bilking investors through a program called Naras Funds in 2007 and 2008. The indictment said Loomis encouraged investors to tap their home equity and retirement accounts to buy shares in the funds and to help purchase residential real estate.

He called the investments “simply the best financial plan ever created,” according to prosecutors.

He and his father-in-law allegedly promised 12 percent annual returns and said the funds were guaranteed, but the indictment claims the men used investors’ money to pay themselves, their companies’ operating expenses, and to prop up the scheme by paying later investors with money from earlier victims.

Loomis and Hagener had court appearances Friday, while the others were to appear later.

Loomis and a real estate appraiser, Darren Fehst, 44, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, are also charged in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme in which Loomis is accused of paying Fehst thousands of dollars to overstate appraisals so properties could be sold for inflated prices.

Loomis and four others also are charged with buying about 200 properties in Arizona, California, Florida and elsewhere while falsifying the sales prices and costing lenders about $10 million.

The others are Michael Llamas, 27, of Tracy; Peter Woodard, 54, of Ventura; Joseph A. Gekko, 43, of Yorba Linda; and Dawn C. Powers, 42, of Lincoln.

All are charged with mail and wire fraud. Each fraud charge carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in federal prison.”

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. § 1341

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Prosecutors rest fraud case against alleged Indy financier

June 19, 2012

The Herald Bulletin on June 19, 2012 released the following:

“Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Federal prosecutors wrapped up their case Monday against a prominent Indianapolis businessman who they say bilked investors out of $200 million, much of it life savings.

For the past week, prosecutors have presented evidence against Tim Durham, business partner James F. Cochran and accountant Rick D. Snow. The men are accused of raiding the Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co. and allegedly used a Ponzi scheme to steal the savings from about 5,000 mostly elderly investors. They are charged with 12 felony counts of wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud.

One of them, Donald Russell of Doylestown, Ohio, testified that he lost $350,000, and his 82-year-old mother lost $125,000 and died a month later. He said he believes the stress of losing her life savings pushed her over the edge.

“They have no hearts or souls,” Russell said of Durham and his partners.

Defense attorney John Tompkins said Durham is innocent, but told The Indianapolis Star that he feels sorry for Russell.

“I don’t think that there are any words that could begin to address the situation that he faces,” Tompkins said. “He had a horrible circumstance, and words cannot console him.”

Prosecutors presented analyses of forensic accountants that showed money from Fair Finance being used to help pay for an expensive Playboy party, Durham’s classic cars and trips to luxury resorts and casinos.

Donald Fair, who sold his company to Durham and Cochran in 2002, testified that the men loaned investors’ money to themselves and their businesses and never repaid it.

Prosecutors played recorded phone calls in which Durham and Cochran allegedly made up excuses to give investors about why their interest checks had stopped and they couldn’t cash in. The men tried to persuade Ohio regulators to allow them to sell another $250 million in investment certificates, prosecutors said, and took cash deposits from investors to whom they promised to issue more investment certificates later.

Cochran doubted regulators would shut down the company, according to recordings played in court.

“If they’re gonna blow us up, we’re gonna blow them up,” Cochran allegedly said in a phone call with Durham on Nov. 13, 2009. “I mean nobody wins and everybody loses, but we lose the worst. … I mean it would be a catastrophic event in the state of Ohio. And I’m sure they don’t want that kind of headline.”

Prosecutors presented emails and recordings in which the men discussed layoffs, selling off assets and other ways to cut costs or conceal the loans, yet Cochran also asked to raise his salary to $1 million a year.

In the weeks before an FBI raid shut down Fair Finance in November 2009, prosecutors said Monday, Durham and his partners transferred $85 million from the parent company, DC Investments, to Fair’s books to show more assets on the company’s balance sheet, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

Defense attorneys are expected to present their case Tuesday morning, and closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Jury deliberations are expected to begin Wednesday.

Attorneys for Cochran and Snow have declined to talk about the trial, and Tompkins refused to discuss his defense strategy. He said he didn’t know if Durham would testify in his own defense.

“That will be his decision, but I will advise him,” Tompkins said. “We haven’t had our discussion.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Allen Stanford sentenced to 110 years in prison

June 14, 2012

Reuters on June 14, 2012 released the following:

“By Anna Driver and Eileen O’Grady

(Reuters) – Allen Stanford, the former Texas billionaire convicted of an $7 billion Ponzi scheme, was sentenced to 110 years in prison by a U.S. federal judge on Thursday.

Stanford, who was convicted of 13 felony counts of fraud and conspiracy and obstruction by a Houston jury in March, used fraudulent certificates of deposit issued by his offshore bank in Antigua to bilk thousands of investors out of their savings.

In sentencing Stanford, U.S. District Judge David Hittner, who presided over his six-week trial earlier this year, called Stanford’s actions one of the most “egregious criminal frauds.”

The 110-year sentence compared with 150 years handed down to Bernard Madoff, who pleaded guilty in March 2009 to running a Ponzi scheme.

Speaking before his sentencing on Thursday, Stanford denied defrauding anyone and blamed the U.S. government for ruining his business by seizing his assets. “They destroyed it and turned it to nothing,” he said. “Stanford was a real brick-and-mortar global financial empire.”

Prosecutors had asked for a 230-year sentence, arguing in court papers that Stanford’s crime was “one of the most egregious frauds in history.”

Stanford’s attorneys had asked for a sentence of about three years, or the same amount of time the 62-year-old has been in federal custody.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Virginia Attorney Charged in Alleged South African Ponzi Scheme

June 7, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on June 6, 2012 released the following:

“NORFOLK, VA— Brian Ray Dinning, 47, of Toronto, Canada, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on wire fraud charges.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after the indictment was returned by the grand jury. Dinning has been charged with 25 counts of wire fraud, which each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, if convicted.

According to the indictment, Dinning was a graduate of Regent University Law School and also obtained an LL.M in tax from the Georgetown University Law Center. From early 2005 until the present, Dinning allegedly recruited approximately 23 individuals to invest in his numerous “for-profit” corporations that he had established. He did this by falsely advising investors that they would accrue significant financial gains from South African projects, such as a luxury Oceanside housing development, a luxury Oceanside hotel and private residence club, as well as diamond and gold mining operations. The indictment alleges that Dinning also used “not-for-profit” corporations to obtain donations purportedly for charitable, environmental, agricultural medical and community projects for the tribal people of South Africa, as well as developing wildlife habitats for native African species.

Regardless of whether his investors made investments for profit or donations for charitable causes to Dinning’s various corporations, upon receipt of these funds from his investors, Dinning is alleged to have immediately used their money for personal and family gain, for payment of his and his family’s expenses, for payment of alimony and child support to his ex-wife, for payment of private school tuition for his children, and to make the down payment and subsequent mortgage payments on his new $975,000 home in Suffolk. As a result, Dinning allegedly obtained more than $2.9 million from his investors, of which he retained more than $2 million for his and his family’s benefit.

This case was investigated by the Norfolk Division of the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Steve Haynie is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


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