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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.

Oct 17, 2010

Foreclosure fiasco frustrates homeowners

DELRAY BEACH, Florida (Reuters) – Curtis Jones has fought for more than a year to keep his two-story townhouse in this beachside Florida city from being foreclosed.

Jones, a 49-year-old construction worker, feels like it is a one-sided fight.

“Nobody is willing to work with me. They just brush you off,” he said.

Oct 17, 2010

U.S. foreclosure fiasco frustrates homeowners

, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Curtis Jones has
fought for more than a year to keep his two-story townhouse in
this beachside Florida city from being foreclosed.

Jones, a 49-year-old construction worker, feels like it is
a one-sided fight.

“Nobody is willing to work with me. They just brush you
off,” he said.

Oct 8, 2010

Florida Ponzi schemer’s aide gets 10-year sentence

MIAMI, Oct 8 (Reuters) – An ex-aide of a Florida lawyer who
ran a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme was sentenced to 10 years in
prison on Friday, the latest development in a high-profile case
that drew attention to investment fraud in the state.

Debra Villegas, former chief operating officer of a
now-defunct Fort Lauderdale law firm at the center of the case,
pleaded guilty to money laundering charges earlier this year.

Oct 6, 2010

Florida lawyer warns of deepening foreclosure mess

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Florida (Reuters) – A Florida lawyer at the forefront of legal challenges against foreclosure practices by mortgage lenders says the U.S. housing morass will drag on due to difficulty in determining who owns home loans.

Questions over practices in foreclosure procedures across the United States have forced at least three banks to temporarily halt their proceedings and prompted a growing chorus of calls by lawmakers and regulators for an industry-wide moratorium until problems are resolved.