Money laundering is fun to talk about. It just sounds cool to begin with. And the whole process is fascinating to me.
It is important to know that money laundering is not a fraud scheme. It is a crime that is committed to cover up other crimes, but it is not the same thing as fraud. The primary purpose of money laundering is to take money that has been received from criminal activities (dirty money) and make it appear legitimate (clean money).
Dirty money can come from illegal activities such as drug dealing, prostitution, robbery, bribery, illegal political contributions, tax evasion, or fraud. The laundering process hides the real origin of the money and makes it look like it came from a legitimate source. Continue reading
In 2008, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged in state court with 8 felonies related to perjury, misconduct in office, and obstruction of justice. In On September 2008,he pleaded guilty to two felonies for obstruction of justice and was sentenced to four months in the Wayne County Jail and ordered to pay $1 million of restitution to the city of Detroit.
The fun didn’t stop there. Kilpatrick has been accused of hiding money that could be used to pay $855,000 restitution owed to the city of Detroit, stemming from the conviction. Despite claiming poverty and an inability to pay the restitution he owes, money has been magically appearing! Money was transferred to his wife, and Kwame himself received $4,000 from a mystery source. None of these funds were disclosed to the state by Kilpatrick, despite being required to do so under the conditions of his probation. It is suspected that Kilpatrick has money hidden, and that is the source of the funds. Continue reading
The most interesting cases I work are criminal cases for defendants accused of financial crimes such as money laundering, tax fraud, bribery and corruption, embezzlement, and investment fraud. I do my best work as a forensic accountant and fraud investigator in cases in which a trail of money must be followed through a complex web of people, entities, and bank accounts.
Peers and colleagues often question my desire to do criminal defense work. CPAs often see themselves as financial watchdogs, especially when they are providing traditional accounting or auditing services. The see themselves on the “right side” of the law, and can’t get their heads around the idea of a CPA helping a criminal. Continue reading
Milwaukee area jewelery Harry C. Glinberg has been charged with money laundering, and has been accused of significantly underreporting his income to the IRS. He was arrested last week and is currently free on a signature bond.
Glinberg is accused of selling expensive jewelry to drug dealers for cash. The jewelry store is known for selling watches costing thousands of dollars, including diamond encrusted watches that retail for $30,000. Continue reading
Christopher Vnuk and his parents, Stephen Vnuk and Sharon Vnuk have been indicted by a federal grand jury on money laundering charges. Money from trafficking high-grade marijuana was allegedly laundered through purchases of vehicles. The parents are also alleged to have purchased items on credit cards, and used drug money to pay the credit card bills and home equity loans.
One particular incident allegedly includes a home equity loan to purchase a $66,685 Mercedes Benz for the son’s use. The bulk of that loan was paid off with drug money. Continue reading