Photographer: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg

Targets of Sting Figured Feds Couldn't Afford Vuitton Bag

  • Two plead guilty of aiming to launder more than $2 million
  • Put it in a fancy duffel, they told undercover agent

Two men arrested in a sting operation to capture offshore money launderers pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in Brooklyn federal court, as the U.S. steps up its prosecution of business people abroad who help mask the proceeds of fraud and other white-collar crime.

Michael J. Dodd, who helped people set up corporate entities in Panama, and an associate, James Robert Shipman Jr., admitted on Tuesday that they planned to launder more than $2 million for a client who was actually an undercover federal agent. A third man arrested with Dodd and Shipman in July, Kenneth Landgaard, pleaded guilty to the same charges on Jan. 15, according to prosecutors.

Landgaard and Shipman, who had access to a private jet equipped with a safe, came to New York to pick up what they thought were the proceeds of a penny stock fraud scheme, planning to launder them for a fee and return them to the U.S., according to prosecutors. 

To protect themselves from getting caught in a sting, they requested that the client pack the money into a Louis Vuitton duffel bag, according to prosecutors. The men told the undercover officer they didn’t think law enforcement could afford the bag.

They were arrested after Shipman arrived in New York’s Long Island to spirit away the funds and send them through banks in Panama and Belize, according to prosecutors. Dodd was waiting for the purported client at Manhattan’s Gramercy Tavern.

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