Illegal Use of Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans: Advisor Sentenced

In an earlier article, we referred to a case where a investment advisors used offshore accounts in the Caribbeans to launder and conceal funds. On September 5, 2014, the IRS ad the DOJ announced one of these advisors, Mr. Joshua Vandyk, was sentenced to serve 30 months in prison.

Mr. Vandyk, a U.S. citizen, and Mr. Eric St-Cyr and Mr. Patrick Poulin, Canadian citizens, were indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on March 6, and the indictment was unsealed March 12 after the defendants were arrested in Miami. Mr. Vandyk, 34, pleaded guilty on June 12, Mr. St-Cyr, 50, pleaded guilty on June 27, and Mr. Poulin, 41, pleaded guilty on July 11. St-Cyr and Poulin are scheduled to be sentenced on October 3, 2014.

According to the plea agreements and statements of facts, All three advisors conspired to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership and control of $2 million (believed to be the proceeds of bank fraud) through the use of the Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans. The Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans are often used not only to conceal illegal funds, but also perfectly legal earnings of U.S. persons.

In addition to the use of the Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans, the advisors assisted undercover law enforcement agents posing as U.S. clients in laundering purported criminal proceeds through an offshore structure designed to conceal the true identity of the proceeds’ owners. Moreover, Mr. Vandyk helped invest the laundered funds on the clients’ behalf and represented that the funds in the Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans would not be reported to the U.S. government.

According to court documents, Mr. Poulin established an offshore corporation called Zero Exposure Inc. for the undercover agents and served as a nominal board member in lieu of the clients. Mr. Poulin then transferred approximately $200,000 that the defendants believed to be the proceeds of bank fraud from the offshore corporation to the Cayman Islands, where Mr. Vandyk and Mr. St-Cyr invested those funds outside of the United States in the name of the offshore corporation. The investment firm represented that it would neither disclose the investments or any investment gains to the U.S. government, nor would it provide monthly statements or other investment statements with respect to the Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans to the clients. Clients were able to monitor their investments in the Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans online through the use of anonymous, numeric passcodes. Upon request from the U.S. client, Mr. Vandyk and Mr. St-Cyr liquidated investments and transfered money from the Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans, through Mr. Poulin, back to the United States.

This case is just one more example of the increased IRS international tax enforcement with respect to the Offshore Accounts in the Caribbeans.

United Kingdom Signs Bilateral Agreement to Combat Offshore Tax Evasion and Implement FATCA

On September 14, 2012, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that it has signed a bilateral agreement with the United Kingdom to implement the information reporting and withholding tax provisions commonly known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Enacted by Congress in 2010, these provisions target non-compliance by U.S. taxpayers using foreign accounts. The bilateral agreement signed this week is based on the model published in July of this year and developed in consultation with France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom and marks an important step in establishing a common approach to combatting tax evasion based on the automatic exchange of information.

“Today’s announcement marks a significant step forward in our efforts to work collaboratively to combat offshore tax evasion,” said Treasury Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur. “We are pleased that the United Kingdom, one of our closest allies, is the first jurisdiction to sign a bilateral agreement with us and we look forward to quickly concluding agreements based on this model with other jurisdictions.”

The Treasury Department is in communication with several other governments who have expressed interest in concluding a similar bilateral agreement to implement FATCA and expects to sign additional bilateral agreements in the near future.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help With Disclosing Offshore Financial Accounts

If you have undisclosed foreign bank and financial accounts, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for legal help. Our experienced international tax firm will examine your case, suggest the proper course of action, prepare all of the documentation necessary for your voluntary disclosure and defend your interests during negotiations with the IRS.