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Feb 4, 2011

Two U.S. clients of HSBC sentenced for tax evasion

MIAMI (Reuters) – A father-and-son team of Miami-based property developers was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Friday for failing to report more than $49 million of income in a case that marked the first trial since the start of an intensified U.S. crackdown on offshore tax evasion.

Mauricio Cohen and his son, Leon Cohen Levy, both clients of HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest bank, were convicted in October of using shell entities and offshore tax havens to hide tens of millions of dollars from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Feb 1, 2011

Florida banks oppose foreigner accounts proposal

MIAMI, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Banks operating in Florida are
criticizing a U.S. proposal that would require banks across the
country to report to American tax authorities interest earned
by U.S. bank accounts held by foreigners.

Florida is a leading banking center in the United States
and home to at least $50 billion in deposits from non-U.S.
residents, many of them from Latin America, according to
banking officials.

Dec 29, 2010

Temperatures warmer in Florida’s citrus zones

MIAMI (Reuters) – Temperatures in Florida’s citrus growing zones warmed on Wednesday, giving growers a respite after a cold snap caused fruit damage in the U.S. state that accounts for about 40 percent of the world’s orange juice supply.

“I think in the citrus areas we saw temperatures in the low 30s (Fahrenheit) rather than the 20s we saw yesterday,” meteorologist Logan Johnson of the NWS’s Tampa Bay area told Reuters.

Dec 28, 2010

Man with bullet parts arrested at Miami airport

MIAMI (Reuters) – A man traveling with bullet parts in a suitcase was arrested at Miami’s international airport on Tuesday after his luggage caused a small explosion on the tarmac, causing no injuries or damage, authorities said.

Law enforcement officials said they did not believe the incident had any links to terrorism. The FBI described the man as a 37-year-old nationalized U.S. citizen traveling en route to Jamaica. Authorities did not specify his previous nationality.

Dec 22, 2010

Swiss banker pleads guilty in U.S. tax fraud case

MIAMI (Reuters) – A former UBS banker pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges he helped wealthy American clients hide their money from U.S. tax authorities as American officials stepped up a crackdown on offshore tax evasion.

Renzo Gadola, a Swiss citizen who worked at UBS AG from 1995 to 2008 and was arrested last month, entered his plea in a Miami federal court.

Dec 15, 2010

Ex-UBS banker charged in U.S. tax fraud case

MIAMI, Dec 15 (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors have charged
a former UBS banker with encouraging his wealthy American
clients not to disclose to U.S. tax authorities that they had
money in offshore accounts.

Renzo Gadola, an investment adviser based in Switzerland,
faces charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, the
U.S. attorney’s office in Miami said in a statement on
Wednesday.

Nov 19, 2010

Rich Latin Americans turning to regional bonds

MIAMI, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Wealthy Latin Americans, buoyed
by their region’s economic recovery, are pouring more of their
money into investments closer to home and corporate and
government bonds are the assets of choice.

“We’re seeing Latin Americans are becoming more interested
in Latin America in general,” said Isabelle Wheeler, a senior
vice president at BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) who works with the
bank’s clients in the region. “So we’ll see Peruvians buying
Chile and Mexicans buying Brazil.”

Nov 19, 2010

Turks and Caicos transfers accused fraudster to U.S.

MIAMI (Reuters) – Turks and Caicos authorities on Thursday handed over to U.S. custody a Jamaican banker accused of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors in Florida and the Caribbean out of more than $220 million.

David A. Smith, who was serving a six-and-a-half year prison sentence in the British Caribbean territory for fraud and conspiracy offenses, faces charges in Florida of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering.

Nov 18, 2010

Florida’s BankAtlantic guilty of securities fraud

MIAMI (Reuters) – Executives at Florida-based lender BankAtlantic Bancorp Inc failed to alert investors about risks in its real estate loan portfolio as the U.S. housing market collapsed, a Miami jury ruled on Thursday in a rare securities fraud class action verdict.

The jury found BankAtlantic Bancorp officials misled shareholders on conference calls and failed to comply with proper lending procedures. The panel awarded $2.41 a share to investors who bought the company’s stock between April 26 and October 26, 2007.

Oct 20, 2010

Florida AG probes law firms in foreclosure mess

MIAMI (Reuters) – Some employees of Florida law firms hired by banks to handle foreclosures have testified that they were “making up documents” and “forging stuff,” the state’s attorney general said on Wednesday.

Attorney General Bill McCollum said a nationwide probe would likely check out the relation between these firms and mortgage lenders.