Wednesday August 24,2011 : Federal judge freezes $28 million allegedly associated with an illegal gambling operation in former Dutch colony
The Wall Street Journal blog reports that over $28 million in possibly ill-gotten gains from a Curacao illegal gambling enterprise was frozen in the US this week by a federal judge following a request for assistance from the Curacao authorities.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington issued a restraining order against three UBS investment accounts in Miami allegedly controlled by Robertico Alejandro dos Santos, who is the subject of a three-year investigation by Curacao authorities into allegations of money laundering, tax fraud and forgery.
The WSJ blog recounts that Dos Santos, the half brother of Curacao Finance Minister George Jamaloodin, is suspected of selling millions of dollars in forged lottery tickets via his gambling businesses in Curacao and St. Maarten, known as “Robbie’s Lottery.”
Dos Santos has not been charged, and has denied the allegations.
The U.S. Department of Justice apparently received a request for assistance from the Curacao public prosecutor’s office in July. In it, Curacao officials alleged that dos Santos has accumulated more than $52 million in illegal profits through the scheme since 2004.
Prosecutors claimed they had established dos Santos’s control over three companies – Ponsford Overseas Ltd., Carribean Investment Group Ltd., Tula Finance Ltd. – with assets of about $28 million at UBS.
According to court documents, Dos Santos and his wife declared a joint income of $67,500 in their most recent tax return. And Dos Santos’s companies, Jamaroma Lotteries in St. Maarten and Administratiekantoor Dollar NV in Curacao, generated less than $600,000 in profits in 2009.
The documents reveal that in a raid last month of dos Santos’s Curacao offices, investigators seized $282,000 in cash and counterfeit Curacao lottery tickets.
Last Friday Judge Kollar-Kotelly asked the Justice Department for advice on her authority to issue a restraining order at the behest of a foreign government.
Prosecutors briefed her on a law Congress amended last year to give the Justice Department greater flexibility to seek freeze orders in such cases, and she issued the freezing order.