Convicted Venezuelan Ponzi schemer seeks release to review loss documents
MIAMI, USA -- Francisco Illarramendi, the Venezuelan businessman whose unlicensed hedge funds turned into a $723 million Ponzi scheme, for which he was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison, is seeking to be released on bond. He alleges that, while confined in a correctional facility, he cannot adequately review the government's 800 documents that prove the losses of his victims.
The US Attorney's Office opposes his motion, asserting that it is merely a ploy to be released while his appeal, which most observers would probably judge is without any merit, is pending.
Illarramendi's pre-trial conduct resulted in his bond being revoked by the court in 2013, for valid reasons, and he stalled his sentencing for four years, while he changed lawyers, and alleged that he could not ascertain the precise amount of victim loss. If released pending his appeal, he could instruct his counsel to delay the proceedings, for months, or even years.
He is also a flight risk, with knowledge of the methods used to secrete funds in Caribbean tax havens, where he sent bribes. He may have funds available to him in the offshore financial centres where he moved money.
This Ponzi schemer took out $25 million for himself to provide a lavish lifestyle, while covering up a huge loss in his hedge fund for years.
By Kenneth Rijock
Kenneth Rijock is a banking lawyer turned-career money launderer (10 years), turned-compliance officer specialising in enhanced due diligence, and a financial crime consultant who publishes a Financial Crime Blog. The Laundry Man, his autobiography, was published in the UK on 5 July 2012