Caribbean-based Investment Advisor Sentenced For Using Offshore Accounts To Launder And Conceal Funds
WASHINGTON – Joshua Vandyk, an investment advisor, was sentenced today to serve 30 months in prison for conspiring to launder monetary instruments, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced.
Vandyk, a U.S. citizen, and Eric St-Cyr and Patrick Poulin, Canadian citizens, were indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on March 6, and the indictment was unsealed March 12 after the defendants were arrested in Miami. Vandyk, 34, pleaded guilty on June 12, St-Cyr, 50, pleaded guilty on June 27, and Poulin, 41, pleaded guilty on July 11. St-Cyr and Poulin are scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 3.
According to the plea agreements and statements of facts, Vandyk, St-Cyr and Poulin conspired to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership and control of property believed to be the proceeds of bank fraud, specifically $2 million. Vandyk, St-Cyr and Poulin assisted undercover law enforcement agents posing as U.S. clients in laundering purported criminal proceeds through an offshore structure designed to conceal the true identity of the proceeds’ owners. Vandyk and St-Cyr invested the laundered funds on the clients’ behalf and represented that the funds would not be reported to the U.S. government.
According to court documents, Vandyk and St-Cyr lived in the Cayman Islands and worked for an investment firm based there. St-Cyr was the founder and head of the investment firm, whose clientele included numerous U.S. citizens. Poulin, an attorney at a law firm based in Turks and Caicos, worked and resided in Canada as well as Turks and Caicos. His clientele also included numerous U.S. citizens. Vandyk, St-Cyr and Poulin solicited U.S. citizens to use their services to hide assets from the U.S. government, including the IRS. Vandyk and St-Cyr directed the undercover agents to create an offshore corporation with the assistance of Poulin and others because they and the investment firm did not want to appear to deal with U.S. clients. Vandyk, St-Cyr and Poulin used the offshore entity to move money into the Cayman Islands and used Poulin as a nominee intermediary for the transactions.
According to court documents, Poulin established an offshore corporation called Zero Exposure Inc. for the undercover agents and served as a nominal board member in lieu of the clients. Poulin transferred approximately $200,000 that the defendants believed to be the proceeds of bank fraud from the offshore corporation to the Cayman Islands, where Vandyk and St-Cyr invested those funds outside of the United States in the name of the offshore corporation. The investment firm represented that it would neither disclose the investments or any investment gains to the U.S. government, nor would it provide monthly statements or other investment statements to the clients. Clients were able to monitor their investments online through the use of anonymous, numeric passcodes. Upon request from the U.S. client, Vandyk and St-Cyr liquidated investments and transfered money, through Poulin, back to the United States. According to Vandyk and St-Cyr, the investment firm would charge clients higher fees to launder criminal proceeds than to assist them in tax evasion.
The case was investigated by special agents of the IRS-Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorney Todd Ellinwood and Assistant Chief Caryn Finley of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kosta Stojilkovic for the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case. The Justice Department and the IRS would like to thank the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force for their assistance in this investigation.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at the division website.