Feds: Romanian pair hiding at Yelm cult suspected in $73M tax cheat – seattlepi.com

22 Mar

  • Radu Nemes, pictured in an Interpol photo.
  • Diana Nemes, pictured in an Interpol photo.
  • Radu Nemes, 39, is alleged to have worked with others to illegally import and sell nearly 1 million tons of diesel fuel, using a series of shell companies. Investigators contend Nemes dodged $53 million Euros in taxes (approximately $73.3 million) by importing the fuel for use in manufacturing, then selling it directly to consumers.

In court papers, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Cohen and Norman Barbosa said the Nemes were living … in Yelm after transferring at least $5 million into bank accounts held in the United States. The money was apparently wired through Dubai with the help of complicit bankers in Romania.

Having sold off a yacht and precious metals, the prosecutors said the couple was living well in a newly built luxury home off Vail Road Southeast, a 10 mile drive from the Ramatha School.

“The Nemes’ and their associates have utilized multiple bank accounts and shell corporations in the United States to conceal and disguise the nature, source, location, and control of the proceeds generated by the activity that resulted in charges being filed in Romania,” the prosecutors continued in court papers.

In the past three years, the couple paid more than $1 million cash for the properties, including a 53-acre spread where they were living at the time of their arrests. They also bought a controlling share of Eagleview Hill Winery in March 2013.

Romanian investigators also claim the Nemes own several pizzerias in the Seattle area.

Facing tax evasion charges in Romania, the Nemes arrived in the United States in June 2012. Arrest warrants were issued shortly after charges were filed the following month.

Radu Nemes, 39, is alleged to have worked with others to illegally import and sell nearly 1 million tons of diesel fuel, using a series of shell companies. Investigators contend Nemes dodged $53 million Euros in taxes (approximately $73.3 million) by importing the fuel for use in manufacturing, then selling it directly to consumers.

At Radu Nemes’ direction, trucks loaded with diesel fuel were driven to secret locations, where the fuel was transferred to commercial fuel companies. The Nemes are alleged to have created a network of shell companies in the names of homeless, indigent people as part of the tax dodge.

Relaying the allegations against the pair, Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Barbosa said Diana Nemes is alleged to have helped launder the scheme’s proceeds through accounts in Dubai before bringing the money into the United States. The scheme is said to have run from May 2011 to July 2012.

Investigated by the Romanian anti-corruption directorate, Radu and Diana Nemes, 38, are alleged to have conspired with at least five others in the fraud.

Romanian authorities tapped about 100 telephones and searched 70 locations as part of the wide-ranging investigation. According to court papers, Romanian investigators contend Nemes was helped by the heads of Romania’s fiscal authority and national customs office.

All told, 20 Romanians have been charged in the tax-dodge scheme.  Several remain at large.

In court papers, Romanian investigators describe the Nemes as belonging to the Ramtha group. Both were living in Yelm at the time of their arrests.

Radu and Diana Nemes are expected to appear Thursday afternoon in U.S. District Court before Judge Karen L. Strombom. Both remain jailed.

via Feds: Pair hiding at Yelm cult suspected in $73M tax cheat – seattlepi.com.

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