FBI: Paul Mancuso and Disbarred New York Attorney Pasquale Stiso Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in an Alleged Real Estate Investment Fraud Scheme Charging Wire Fraud and Wire Fraud Conspiracy

August 25, 2014

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 21, 2014 released the following:

“NEWARK, NJ—Two men were indicted by a federal grand jury today for allegedly using a real estate investment scheme to defraud 15 victims of more than $3 million, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Paul Mancuso, 46, of Glen Rock, New Jersey, is charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud. Pasquale Stiso, 52, of West Harrison, New York, is charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud.

According to documents filed in this case:

Since 2009, Mancuso posed as a real estate investor, broker and developer, as well as a “hard money” lender for other investments. Stiso, a disbarred attorney, held himself out as an individual working with Mancuso on various investment projects.

Mancuso and Stiso fraudulently obtained financing for projects that did not exist or in which they had no actual involvement. Some of the purported projects touted by Mancuso, Stiso, and other conspirators included investments in a phony ticket scam, the development of a pizzeria at a resort in the Bahamas, the development of a casino in Atlantic City, the development of a commercial shopping center, and the “flipping” of a piece of real estate in Matawan.

Victims lost all of their investments or life savings in Mancuso’s schemes. Instead of funding the purported projects, Mancuso and Stiso used the money for personal expenses and financing their involvement in illegal gambling pursuits.

The charge of wire fraud conspiracy and each substantive count of wire fraud carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss associated with the offense, whichever is greater. The indictment also includes a notice of forfeiture of $3,425,750, representing the fraudulent payments Mancuso and Stiso received from the scheme.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larson for the investigation leading to today’s indictment.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lisa M. Colone and Francisco J. Navarro of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until 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

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.


Tennessee Couple Indicted for Alleged Role in Warzone Contracting Scheme

July 17, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on July 16, 2013 released the following:

Alleged to Have Steered $6.9 Million in Proceeds from Defense Subcontracts in Afghanistan

ALEXANDRIA, VA— Keith Johnson, 46, and Angela Johnson, 44, both of Maryville, Tennessee, were indicted by a federal grand jury today on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and substantive wire fraud for their alleged role in a scheme to steer $6.9 million from Department of Defense (DOD) subcontracts in Afghanistan to shell entities through kickbacks and the use of assumed names.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Mythili Raman, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Robert E. Craig, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Special Agent in Charge of Mid-Atlantic Field Office; John Sopko, Inspector General for Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR); and Frank Robey, Director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU), made the announcement following the grand jury’s return of the indictment.

Keith and Angela Johnson face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for conspiracy and up to 20 years in prison on each count of wire fraud if convicted.

According to the indictment, between July 2007 and June 2010, Keith and Angela Johnson engaged in a scheme to defraud Company #1, a DOD contractor, relating to two contracts worth more than $269 million. The contracts at issue were to provide vehicle-fleet maintenance for the Afghan National Army (ANA). Keith Johnson worked for Company #1 in Kabul, Afghanistan, as its project manager and procurement manager for the ANA contracts. Johnson fielded requests for vehicle parts from Company #2, a Company #1 subcontractor. Company #1 would then issue purchase orders for those parts to subcontractors after receiving multiple bids. In September 2007, Keith and Angela Johnson formed Company #4 as a Tennessee corporation, but they listed Angela Johnson’s mother and daughter on its corporate documents. Thereafter, Keith Johnson used his position in Company #1 to steer parts-supply purchase orders and other business on the ANA contracts to Company #4. To conceal Keith Johnson’s relationship to Company #4, Angela Johnson used her maiden name when interacting with Company #1 on Company #4’s behalf.

According to the indictment, the Johnsons also agreed with two other individuals at Company #2 to further the scheme. The two Company #2 employees helped steer Company #1 business to the Johnsons through Company #4, and Keith Johnson helped steer Company #1 business to Company #3, an entity operated by the two Company #2 employees using a fictional name. The Company #2 employees allegedly paid kickbacks to the Johnsons through a shell company. As part of the scheme, the Johnsons also allegedly participated in a bid-rigging practice of coordinating inflated bids on behalf of Company #3 or Company #4 to ensure that the other company would receive particular contracts. The conspirators also caused Company #1 to order excess parts that were not yet needed on Company #1’s contracts, and Company #4 did not ultimately supply all parts in compliance with Company #1’s requirements.

According to the indictment, the conspirators obtained $6,933,179.31 in proceeds from the scheme, which they used in part to purchase, among other items, several luxury vehicles and more than $191,000 in jewelry.

This case is being investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Faulconer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Daniel Butler of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, who is also a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia.

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

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

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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.


“International fugitive Richard Chichakli requests extradition to US to face charges linking him to Russian arms dealer”

April 4, 2013

Herald Sun on April 4, 2013 released the following:

Emily Portelli From: Herald Sun

“INTERNATIONAL fugitive Richard Chichakli, arrested in Melbourne after applying to become a protective services officer, has asked to be sent back to the US to face charges linking him to a Russian arms dealer.

“I consent to the extradition and ask the court to kindly send me home to the United States as soon as possible,” the Syrian-born US citizen said today via video link at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

“I thank Australia for its hospitality, I just need to go home.”

The alleged associate of war criminal Viktor Bout arrived in Australia in June 2010 on a false Syrian passport and left and returned to Australia six times before his arrest in January.

The 53-year-old was living in Melbourne’s north and was arrested after his fingerprints were matched to an Interpol alert when he applied for a job as a PSO.

He had already passed Victoria Police psychological and fitness screening.

The US sought to extradite Mr Chichakli to New York to face charges relating to his alleged conspiracy with Bout to purchase planes to transport arms to international conflict zones.

Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg told Mr Chichakli he was facing charges of conspiracy to violate the International Economic Emergency Powers Act, conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and six wire fraud offences.

“Of course I deny all of them but that is for a United States court to try,” Mr Chichakli said.

“I am ready for extradition, sir.”

Mr Rozencwajg told him he would send a letter this afternoon to the Attorney-General, who would then likely order his surrender to the US.

Bout, who is currently serving 25 years on US terror charges, inspired the character played by Nicholas Cage in 2005 war film Lord of War.

It is alleged the pair provided arms to former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, who was last year sentenced to 50 years’ jail for war crimes.

Mr Chichakli had been on the run from American authorities since 2005.”

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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

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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.


Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Arrests of Two Individuals in Alleged Multi-Million-Dollar Scam Involving Elderly Woman

May 3, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 2, 2012 released the following:

“Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York State Attorney General; and Janice K. Fedarcyk, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced charges today against IFEANYICHUKWU ERIC ABAKPORO and LATANYA PIERCE for allegedly swindling an elderly woman out of her multi-million-dollar property in Harlem that she had owned for more than 40 years and then deceiving a bank into giving them a $1.8 million mortgage loan secured by the property. ABAKPORO was arrested Monday in Queens, New York, and PIERCE was arrested yesterday after voluntarily surrendering to the FBI.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “As alleged, these two defendants preyed on an elderly woman, using false documents and fraudulent representations to essentially steal her property out from under her. They then allegedly took their brazen scheme one step further, using the property to deceive a bank into lending them more than a million dollars. Sadly, this type of mortgage fraud scheme and exploitation of vulnerable victims have become all too familiar, but as these charges make clear, we are committed to bringing those who perpetrate these types of harmful schemes to justice.”

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman stated: “Through lies and deception, these individuals abused the trust of an elderly woman in order to perpetrate a multi-million-dollar fraud. Now that their despicable scheme has been exposed, they will face justice.”

Assistant Director in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk stated: “These defendants are charged with spinning a web of lies to steal the victim’s property. Cases like this are rightly a priority for the FBI: fraudulent schemes that victimize the vulnerable and enrich the unscrupulous.”

As alleged in the indictment unsealed yesterday in Manhattan federal court:

Beginning in March 2006, ABAKPORO, a lawyer with an office in Brooklyn, New York, and PIERCE, who worked for ABAKPORO, cultivated a relationship with an elderly woman (“the Victim”) who owned a residential apartment building worth millions of dollars located at 1070 St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem (the “Property”). As part of the fraud scheme, ABAKPORO and PIERCE earned the Victim’s trust by, among other things, offering to help her manage the Property. This included collecting rent from its tenants on her behalf. However, instead of providing the Victim with the renters’ money, ABAKPORO and PIERCE pocketed it.

ABAKPORO and PIERCE then convinced the Victim to sell her property to them for $3.1 million. While they contracted to buy the property for that amount, at the closing, they presented the Victim with multiple fake and fraudulent checks to make it appear as if they had paid the contracted sale amount, when in fact they had not. Moreover, after the Victim’s attorney had left the closing, ABAKPORO and PIERCE fraudulently induced her to return all of the checks to them by representing that they would safeguard her money and give her a “private mortgage” in the Property, which they explained would include monthly payments made to her based on the money she had effectively loaned them. As part of the scheme, ABAKPORO and PIERCE signed and provided the Victim with a written agreement representing that she had loaned them approximately $1.9 million and in return held a “private mortgage” in the Property. Unbeknownst to the Victim, ABAKPORO and PIERCE never recorded the private mortgage and subsequently submitted a fraudulent application to Washington Mutual Bank seeking a $1.8 mortgage loan secured by the Property. ABAKPORO and PIERCE never disclosed to the bank that the Victim already held a private mortgage on the Property. Instead, ABAKPORO and PIERCE falsely represented to the bank that they had purchased the Property for $3.1 million and owned it “free and clear.” Based on those, and other, fraudulent representations, ABAKPORO and PIERCE obtained a $1.8 million mortgage loan from the bank, which they failed to repay.

As a result of the alleged fraud, the defendants obtained substantially all of the Victim’s assets, and $1.8 million in fraudulently obtained mortgage proceeds. The Property went into default.

***

ABAKPORO, 52, a Nigerian citizen, is a resident of Queens, and PIERCE, 43, is a resident of Brooklyn. They are each charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, and bank fraud conspiracy. The wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy charges each carry a maximum prison term of 20 years. The bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy charges each carry a maximum prison term of 30 years.

ABAKPORO is currently detained pending his satisfaction of court-ordered bail conditions: a $1 million bond secured by an interest in property and co-signed by three individuals. PIERCE was released on a $500,000 bond to be co-signed by three individuals and secured by two properties.

Mr. Bharara praised the New York State Attorney General’s Office investigative staff and the FBI for their excellent work on the investigation of this matter. He also thanked the New York State Department of Financial Services for its assistance.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Southern District of New York Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan Poscablo and Michael Lockard, along with Assistant Attorney General Meryl Lutsky, who has been designated a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, and Assistant Attorney General Rhonda Greenstein, are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until 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

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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.


Alleged Fake Hedge Fund Managers Arrested by the FBI and Charged in Newark, New Jersey Federal Court with Wire Fraud Conspiracy

December 15, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on December 14, 2011 released the following:

“Fake Hedge Fund Managers Charged in New Jersey for Alleged $3.5 Million Fraud Through Foreign Currency Investment Ponzi Scheme

NEWARK, NJ—Two men claiming to run New Jersey-based hedge funds using a secret computer program to invest in foreign currency are charged for allegedly defrauding victims out of more than $3.5 million and spending the investments on high-end vehicles, luxury travel and five-figure bar tabs, U.S. Attorney for the New Jersey Paul J. Fishman announced.

George Sepero, 39, of Glen Rock, N.J., and Carmelo Provenzano, 29, of Garfield, N.J., were arrested today by FBI special agents on a criminal complaint charging them with wire fraud conspiracy. The defendants are scheduled for initial appearances and bail hearings this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Shipp in Newark.

“According to the complaint, Sepero and Provenzano used fake companies and phony reports to steal millions in real money from trusting investors,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman. “With other people’s cash in their pockets, the defendants allegedly went on a spending spree involving luxury vehicles, international travel and extraordinary bar bills. Nobody asks to be defrauded, but those looking to invest should always be skeptical of rates of return that go so far beyond the norm.”

“I cannot stress enough the importance of investors exercising due diligence before trusting others with their money,” said Michael B. Ward, special agent in charge of the Newark, N.J., Division of the FBI. “The old adage ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ remains constant. In this case, Sepero and Provenzano claimed to own a secret computer algorithm which would achieve returns of 170 percent or more at a time when financial markets were in flux. Instead, it was another of the many Ponzi schemes that have been uncovered in New Jersey wherein subjects are diverting money to support lavish lifestyles.”

According to the complaint unsealed today in Newark federal court:

Beginning in 2009, Sepero and Provenzano claimed to run a series of hedge funds in New Jersey, luring investors with the prospect of extraordinary profits in foreign currency trading. The defendants made numerous misrepresentations and omissions to induce their victims to invest in “Pelt Capital,” “Caxton Capital Management,” “SP Investors Inc.” and “CCP Pro Consulting Inc.” Sepero and Provenzano claimed they owned and controlled a proprietary computer algorithm for trading foreign currencies; that they had used the algorithm to achieve returns of more than 170 percent in the prior two years; and that any investment funds would be highly liquid and could be withdrawn on days’ notice.

Relying on these and other misrepresentations, investors sent the defendants a total of more than $3.5 million. Sepero and Provenzano invested little or no money in foreign currency or any other investment vehicle, instead diverting the vast majority of victims’ investments to pay prior victims in Ponzi-scheme style and to finance extravagant personal expenditures.

Sepero and Provenzano spent investor money on credit card bills averaging approximately $25,000 per month; bar tabs of approximately $18,241—including a $4,000 tip—and approximately $14,034 on separate nights at “Drai’s Hollywood” nightclub in Los Angeles; luxury hotel rooms for tens of thousands of dollars, including suites costing more than $4,000 at W Hotels in New York; and flights to Paris, Los Angeles, Chicago and elsewhere. Sepero also purchased a customized Ford F-350 “Harley-Davidson Edition” pickup truck costing more than $80,000 and Provenzano bought a luxury Range Rover Sport SUV costing more than $71,000, with a down payment of more than $65,000. The pair also spent victims’ money on other personal expenditures, including mortgage payments, home improvements, meals at high-end restaurants, jewelry and limousines.

The defendants furthered the scheme by e-mailing victims fake statements showing their principal had been invested in the foreign currency markets and was achieving substantial results. Many of these e-mails were purportedly sent by an individual named “Mel Tannenbaum,” a fictional character of Provenzano’s invention.

The defendants also e-mailed to several investors “screen shots” of a computer-based trading program, which they claimed represented the investors’ funds being traded in the currency markets. In reality, the shots reflected trading in fictional accounts set up by the coconspirators to dupe investors.

The wire fraud conspiracy count with which Sepero and Provenzano are charged carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss from the offense.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ward in Newark, for the investigation. He also thanked the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s New York Regional Office, under the direction of David Meister.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Kelly and Zach Intrater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit and Evan Weitz of the office’s Asset Forfeiture Unit in Newark.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.”

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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

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch 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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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


Eight Former Senior Executives and Agents of Siemens Charged in Alleged $100 Million Foreign Bribe Scheme

December 13, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on December 13, 2011 released the following:

“WASHINGTON— Eight former executives and agents of Siemens AG and its subsidiaries have been charged for allegedly engaging in a decade-long scheme to bribe senior Argentine government officials to secure, implement and enforce a $1 billion contract with the Argentine government to produce national identity cards, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York and Ronald T. Hosko, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division.

The defendants charged in the indictment returned late yesterday are:

  • Uriel Sharef, a former member of the central executive committee of Siemens AG;
  • Herbert Steffen, a former chief executive officer of Siemens Argentina;
  • Andres Truppel, a former chief financial officer of Siemens Argentina;
  • Ulrich Bock, Stephan Signer, and Eberhard Reichert, former senior executives of Siemens Business Services (SBS); and
  • Carlos Sergi and Miguel Czysch, who served as intermediaries and agents of Siemens in the bribe scheme.

The indictment charges the defendants and their co-conspirators with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the wire fraud statute, money laundering conspiracy and wire fraud.

“Today’s indictment alleges a shocking level of deception and corruption,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “The indictment charges Siemens executives, along with agents and conduits for the company, with committing to pay more than $100 million in bribes to high-level Argentine officials to win a $1 billion contract. Business should be won or lost on the merits of a company’s products and services, not the amount of bribes paid to government officials. This indictment reflects our commitment to holding individuals, as well as companies, accountable for violations of the FCPA.”

“As alleged, the defendants in this case bribed Argentine government officials in two successive administrations and paid off countless others in a successful effort to secure a billion dollar contract,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara. “When the project was terminated, they even sought to recover the profits they would have reaped from a contract that was awarded to them illegitimately in the first place. Bribery corrupts economic markets and creates an unfair playing field for law-abiding companies. It is critical that we hold individuals as well as corporations accountable for such corruption as we are doing today.”

“Backroom deals and corrupt payments to foreign officials to obtain business wear away public confidence in our global marketplace,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Hosko of the Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division. “The investigation into this decades-long scheme serves as an example that the FBI is committed to curbing corruption and will investigate those who try to advance their businesses through foreign bribery.”

According to the indictment, the government of Argentina issued a tender for bids in 1994 to replace an existing system of manually created national identity booklets with state of the art national identity cards (the DNI project). The value of the DNI project was $1 billion. In 1998, the Argentine government awarded the DNI project to a special-purpose subsidiary of Siemens AG.

The indictment alleges that during the bidding and implementation phases of the project, the defendants and their co-conspirators caused Siemens to commit to paying nearly $100 million in bribes to sitting officials of the Argentine government, members of the opposition party and candidates for office who were likely to come to power during the performance of the project. According to the indictment, members of the conspiracy worked to conceal the illicit payments through various means. For instance, Bock made cash withdrawals from Siemens AG general-purpose accounts in Germany totaling approximately $10 million, transported the cash across the border into Switzerland and deposited the funds into Swiss bank accounts for transfer to officials. Bock, Truppel, Reichert, and other conspirators also allegedly caused Siemens to wire transfer more than $7 million in bribes to a bank account in New York disguised as a foreign exchange hedging contract relating to the DNI project. Over the duration of the conspiracy, the conspirators allegedly relied on at least 17 off-shore shell companies associated with Sergi, Czysch and other intermediaries to disguise and launder the funds, often documenting the payments through fake consulting contracts.

In May 1999, according to the indictment, the Argentine government suspended the DNI project, due in part to instability in the local economy and an impending presidential election. When a new government took power in Argentina, and in the hopes of getting the DNI project resumed, members of the conspiracy allegedly committed Siemens to paying additional bribes to the incoming officials and to satisfying existing obligations to officials of the outgoing administration, many of whom remained in influential positions within the government.

When the project was terminated in May 2001, members of the conspiracy allegedly responded with a multi-faceted strategy to overcome the termination. According to the indictment, the conspirators sought to recover the anticipated proceeds of the DNI project, notwithstanding the termination, by causing Siemens AG to file a fraudulent arbitration claim against the Republic of Argentina in Washington, D.C. The claim alleged wrongful termination of the contract for the DNI project and demanded nearly $500 million in lost profits and expenses. Members of the conspiracy allegedly caused Siemens to actively hide from the tribunal the fact that the contract for the DNI project had been secured by means of bribery and corruption, including tampered witness statements and pleadings that falsely denied the existence of corruption.

In related actions, the indictment also alleges that members of the conspiracy continued the bribe scheme, in part to prevent disclosure of the bribery in the arbitration and to ensure Siemens’ ability to secure future government contracts in Argentina and elsewhere in the region. In four installments between 2002 and 2007, members of the conspiracy allegedly caused Siemens to pay approximately $28 million in further satisfaction of the obligations. Conspirators continued to conceal these additional payments through various means. For example, Sharef, Truppel and other members of the conspiracy allegedly caused Siemens to transfer approximately $9.5 million through fictitious transactions involving a Siemens business division that had no role in the DNI project. They also caused Siemens to pay an additional $8.8 million in 2007 under the legal cover of a separate arbitration initiated in Switzerland by the intermediaries to enforce a sham $27 million contract from 2001 between SBS and Mfast Consulting, a company controlled by their co-conspirator intermediaries, which consolidated existing bribe commitments into one contract. The conspirators caused Siemens to quietly settle the arbitration, keeping all evidence of corruption out of the proceeding. The settlement agreement included a provision preventing Sergi, Czysch and another intermediary from testifying in, or providing information to, the Washington arbitration.

Siemens’s corrupt procurement of the DNI project was not exposed during the lifespan of the conspiracy, and, in February 2007, the arbitral tribunal in Washington sided with Siemens AG, awarding the company nearly $220 million on its DNI claims, plus interest. On Aug. 12, 2009, following Siemens’ corporate resolutions with the U.S. and German authorities—new management of Siemens caused Siemens AG to forego its right to receive the award and, as a result, the company never claimed the award money.

The indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery, books and records and internal control provisions of the FCPA; conspiracy to commit wire fraud; conspiracy to commit money laundering; and substantive wire fraud.

The charges announced today follow the Dec. 15, 2008, guilty pleas by Siemens AG and its subsidiary, Siemens S.A. (Siemens Argentina), to criminal violations of the FCPA. As part of the plea agreement, Siemens AG and Siemens Argentina agreed to pay fines of $448.5 million and $500,000, respectively.

In a parallel civil action, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced charges against executives and agents of Siemens. The department acknowledges and expresses its appreciation of the significant assistance provided by the staff of the SEC during the course of these parallel investigations.

Today’s charges follow, in large part, the laudable actions of Siemens AG and its audit committee in disclosing potential FCPA violations to the department after the Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation. Siemens AG and its subsidiaries disclosed these violations after initiating an internal FCPA investigation of unprecedented scope; shared the results of that investigation; cooperated extensively and authentically with the department in its ongoing investigation; and took remedial action, including the complete restructuring of Siemens AG and the implementation of a sophisticated compliance program and organization.

The department and the SEC closely collaborated with the Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office in bringing this case. The high level of cooperation, including sharing information and evidence, was made possible by the use of mutual legal assistance provisions of the 1997 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

The case is being prosecuted by Principal Deputy Chief Jeffrey H. Knox of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason P. Hernandez and Sarah McCallum of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. The Fraud Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the Complex Frauds Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are handling the case. The case was investigated by FBI agents who are part of the Washington Field Office’s dedicated FCPA squad. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in this matter.”

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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 Crimes Watch 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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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