Panama Money Laundering-To-Go Sting Yields Three Arrests

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Kenneth Landgaard had what he thought was a foolproof plan for moving illicit cash out of the U.S. to safe havens in Belize and Panama, prosecutors said: pack it in Louis Vuitton duffel bags.

The idea was meant to reassure the crew that the deal wasn’t a set-up, according to prosecutors.

“Cops can’t get the authority to buy a Louis Vuitton bag,” his associate explained to an undercover agent pretending to be a stock swindler, according to the U.S. “It’s too expensive.”

On Wednesday, Landgaard and two other men were arrested after arriving in New York believing they’d be taking $2.2 million in a client’s stock-fraud proceeds to launder for a fee, said prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York. They came to finish a job after laundering $400,000, prosecutors said.

Landgaard and James Shipman Jr. were arrested after flying into Long Island’s MacArthur Airport on a private jet and seeking to take possession of currency headed to banks in Panama and Belize, prosecutors said. A third man, Michael J. Dodd, was arrested at New York’s Gramercy Tavern, where he was waiting to meet an undercover agent he thought was the client for lunch, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors have stepped up their efforts to curtail offshore laundering and fraud. In a separate case last month, a California stock promoter, Gregg R. Mulholland, was charged in Brooklyn with taking part in a Belize-based scheme that allegedly led to a surge in market cap for a little-known company, Cynk Technology Corp.

“We are committed to closing fraudulent offshore safe havens,” Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie in Brooklyn said in a statement.

Dodd, Landgaard and Shipman are scheduled to appear Thursday in Brooklyn federal court.

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