QCOSTARICA – The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) highlights Costa Rica cases in its annual examples of Money Laundering Investigation reports.
“The following examples of Money Laundering Investigations are written from public record documents on file in the courts within the judicial district where the cases were prosecuted,” according to the IRS ‘Examples of Money Laundering Investigations for Fiscal Year 2016 and Fiscal Year 2015.
The IRS 2016 report, the examples include that of the Ohio Man Sentenced for Money Laundering in Connection with Costa Rica-Based Telemarketing Fraud Scheme.
On Feb. 18, 2016, in Charlotte, North Carolina, Paul R. Toth Jr. was sentenced to 108 months in prison. Toth was convicted on Aug. 4, 2015, of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and six counts of international money laundering. According to court documents, Toth’s co-conspirators in Costa Rica posed as federal agents and deceived two victims, who were husband and wife, into believing that they had won a large monetary prize in a sweepstakes contest.
The other, is Costa Rican Miguel Amaris-Caviedes, who on On Jan. 11, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 60 months in prison and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to two counts of knowingly conducting financial transactions that involved purported drug proceeds. According to court documents, in 2013, Amaris-Caviedes met with individuals to discuss money laundering and drug trafficking methods from Costa Rica.
In the 2015 IRS report, a California Woman was sentenced to 130 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution for her role in an offshore sweepstakes scheme. According to court documents, from about 2007 through February 2013, Clark and her co-conspirators called U.S. residents from Costa Rican call centers, falsely informing them that they had won a cash “sweepstakes.” The victims, many of whom were elderly, were told that in order to receive the prize, they had to send money for a purported “refundable insurance fee.”
And no report can miss out the case of former Liberty Reserve IT manager sentenced for operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
On Jan. 30, 2015, in New York, New York, Maxim Chukharev, a citizen of Russia and resident of Costa Rica, was sentenced to 36 months in prison in connection with his work for Liberty Reserve, a company that operated one of the world’s most widely used digital currency services. Chukharev pleaded guilty in September 2014 to conspiring to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business. According to court documents, Chukharev was primarily responsible for maintaining Liberty Reserve’s technological infrastructure and for implementing systems designed to create the false appearance that Liberty Reserve had an effective anti-money laundering program.
Also in 2015, the chief technology officer of Liberty Reserve was sentenced in the U.S. for fraud.
On Dec. 12, 2014, in Manhattan, New York, Mark Marmilev, of Brooklyn, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and fined $250,000. Marmilev pleaded guilty in September 2014 to conspiring to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business that he knew involved the transmission of funds derived from criminal activity. According to the complaint, Marmilev purchased these business interests using more than $1.6 million in Liberty Reserve proceeds. Marmilev was a longtime associate of Liberty Reserve founder Arthur Budovsky and served as Liberty Reserve’s chief technology officer. In that role, Marmilev was principally responsible for designing and maintaining Liberty Reserve’s technological infrastructure. Liberty Reserve was incorporated in Costa Rica in 2006 and billed itself as the Internet’s “largest payment processor and money transfer system.”
And then there’s the case of the Costa Rica based telemarketing fraud, landing Glen Adkins Jr., of San Diego, California, a sentence of 300 months in prison and Warren F. Tonsing Jr., of St. Paul, Minnesota, 144 months in prison.
Adkins and Tonsing were convicted in August 2013 of wire fraud and money laundering. According to court documents, the defendants schemed to defraud United States residents, most over the age of 55, out of millions of dollars by deceiving them into believing that each had won a large monetary prize in a “sweepstakes contest.” Both defendants worked in a Costa Rica-based call center that used computers to make telephone calls over the internet to victims in the United States.