US$500 million scam found

By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter

The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has indicted six men including one Belizean on charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering of up to US$500 million.

The indictment was read on Tuesday in a Federal District Court in Brooklyn, New York. Robert Bandfield, a retired American citizen conducting business in Belize was arrested on Tuesday in Miami.

The indictment also names Belizean Andrew Godfrey as well as Kelvin Leach and Rohn Knowles, both of the Bahamas, and Brian De Wit and Cem Can, both Canadian citizens.

The companies named in the indictment include IPC Corporate Services, which is listed on the fourth floor of the Matalon building on Coney Drive; Titan Brokerage also listed on the Matalon’s fourth floor; Legacy Global Markets; and Unicorn International Services.

On Tuesday, police and Financial Intelligence Unit personnel visited the Matalon’s fourth floor to confiscate documents to assist the FBI with their investigation.

“As alleged, Bandfield and his co-conspirators devised not only a fraudulent scheme but an elaborate corporate structure based on lies and deceit designed to enable U.S. citizens to evade and circumvent our securities and tax laws. They set up sham companies with figureheads at the helm in an attempt to deceive U.S. law enforcement and regulators and bragged about their scheme to their clients,” Loretta E. Lynch, US attorney said.

An undercover FBI agent, who posed as a client looking to access the illegal services of the offshore companies, reportedly approached the defendants. Once the men explained the way their service worked the FBI was able to build a case against them.

In July, another Belizean company, Cynk, which was also listed at an address on the fourth floor at the Matalon, was accused of corporate fraud. That same month, Fortune Magazine wrote an article in which the magazine claimed they spoke to a paralegal person at a local law firm who confirmed that the local firm’s proprietor owned a number of offshore businesses, including Legacy Global.

The Reporter made several unsuccessful attempts to contact that proprietor.

In August, The Reporter contacted Gian Gandhi, the Director General of the International Financial Services Commission of Belize, about the reports of corporate fraud, but Gandhi, at the time, said there was no cause for concern.

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