U.S. tax evasion and money-laundering sting nabs Canadians
A contingent of so-called “corrupt clients” from Canada have been caught in the net of a massive fraud investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney, a source close to the investigation told CBC.
CBC News reported Wednesday that two Canadians, along with four others, were indicted in the U.S. for their alleged role in a $500-million international fraud. According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney and the FBI, the fraud involved artificially inflating stock prices and helping more than 100 “corrupt” U.S. clients evade taxes and launder money offshore.
Brian De Wit and Cem Can, also known as Jim Can, face several fraud-related charges in the U.S. for their connection to a group of companies in Belize known as IPC Services and its so-called “corrupt clients.”
The source told CBC News: “IPC seemed to primarily service U.S. and Canadian clients. So there is definitely a contingent of Canadians utilizing the services.”
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The source also said U.S. officials have been in contact with Canadian law enforcement on the matter.
Canada Revenue Agency and the RCMP both declined to comment.
“The RCMP does not generally confirm nor deny who or what may or may not be the subject of an investigation,” the RCMP said in an email to CBC News.
Canadian met with undercover agent
According to a statement from the FBI and the U.S. Attorney, the scheme involved routing money obtained though fraudulent stock trades through shell companies in Belize in order to hide it from U.S. tax authorities and to launder the money so it could be returned to the U.S. One of the methods of laundering the money included loading it on to prepaid credit and debit cards, which could then be spent anonymously in the U.S. or Canada.
Can, originally from Calgary, is believed currently to be in Turkey.
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According to the source, during the investigation, he discussed and promoted the fraud with an undercover agent.
“He is an individual that the undercover agent met with and discussed these various schemes,” the source told CBC News.
According to the source, Can is linked to a company called Unicorn International Securities based in Belize. On its website, the company advertises its services as a way to avoid paying taxes and remaining anonymous.
“Information about beneficial owners, shareholders, directors and officers is not filed with the Belize government, and not available to the public,” the website says. “Belize offshore IBC’s are exempt from all local taxes including income tax, dividend tax, and capital gains tax or stamp duty on transfer of corporate property, shares, and other corporate financial instruments.”
U.S. seeks extradition of 2 men
Authorities believe De Wit is in Canada. According to the source, he is linked another Belize based company offering similar services, called Legacy Global Markets.
In a news release, the U.S. Attorney says it is seeking the extradition of both men.
De Wit did not return a call from CBC News.
Virginia-based lawyer Christopher Bruno confirmed he represents Can.
“I am in the process of reviewing this indictment,” he told CBC News. “And we are weighing our options in terms of how we are going to handle this and whether or not we will be fighting extradition.”