Israeli bank employee carried account statements into the country on a USB flash dirve concealed in her necklace.
Court papers spell out how Masud Sarshar, owner of a clothing business, tried to avoid leaving a paper trail that could expose his offshore money. He used a code name in 1993 to set up an account at an unidentified Israeli bank, and he and his relationship manager at the time would secretly meet in Sarshar’s car so the manager could show him copies of his account statements. The businessman agreed to plead guilty to hiding more than $21 million through accounts at Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd. and two other Israeli banks, the Justice Department said recently.
In 2007, Sarshar opened three accounts at Bank Leumi that he hid by placing them in the names of entities he created. Sarshar believed his new relationship manager “knew of his desire to keep his Bank Leumi accounts secret,” and she “acted accordingly,” according to his plea agreement.
She “brought electronic copies of Sarshar’s Bank Leumi account statements during her visits to the United States, which she kept hidden on a USB drive contained in a necklace that she wore,” according to Sarshar’s plea agreement.
Sarshar, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Iran, is the owner of Apparel Limited Inc. Under his plea deal, he will serve two years in prison if a judge agrees to that term.
“He’s pleading guilty because he is guilty,” said his attorney Edward Robbins Jr. “He’s cooperating to duck a significantly higher jail sentence than he’s looking at under his plea.” The plea agreement calls for Sarshar to pay $8.3 million in restitution and a penalty of 50 percent of the high balance of his accounts for failing to disclose them.