Maxito (Max) Pean is a Haitian national living in the United States, who has been charged with multiple counts, in a case filed in Federal Court in the Northern District of California. An examination of the case provides us with some insight into exactly how white-collar criminals move the proceeds of crime.
Pean, engaged in what is generally known as "phishing," where the fraudster tricks his victim, over the Internet, into providing him with the user name and password to his bank account, obtained the information necessary to access funds at Deutsche Bank. He also set up a filter, to divert any legitimate emails from the bank to the victim, for that the victim would not be alerted to the scam.
He then formed a number of Florida corporations, and LLCs, which would be used to move the money. Next, he had "associates", who were homeless residents of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, set up bank accounts, and hand over checkbooks for those accounts, with the checks pre-signed, for which service they received a small fee.
The six figures looted from the victim's accounts were transferred to the Fort Lauderdale accounts; some of the funds were then wired to other accounts controlled by Pean. He would also issue checks, payable to still other shell accounts that he controlled. Finally, he wired $150,00 to himself in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Over $200,000 was stolen from the victim's accounts, in this manner.
When a later attempt, to transfer funds, to a Regions Bank account, was blocked, his operation was discovered. The shell companies identified with this fraud are:
Southeastern Capital Group Inc.
Meade Financial Services
T & L Audio
Natures [sic] Spring LLC
Capital Resource LLC
The charges are:
(1) Money Laundering
(2) Money Laundering Conspiracy
(3) Wire Fraud
(4) Wire Fraud Conspiracy
(5) Engaging in Monetary Transactions through criminally-derived property.
If you were wondering why this case is being prosecuted so zealously, the defendant is already in Federal Prison, serving 18 months. His crime: attempting to covertly ship a carload of shotguns, rifles,handguns, ammunition and magazines to Haiti, without an export license, and without notifying the shipper that he was sending firearms and explosives in international commerce. he probably paid for the weapons with the fraud proceeds.