Court Docs Signal Plea Deal for Ex-Willkie Partner Keila Ravelo
According to court records Monday, a plea agreement hearing is set for Nov. 20 in Newark.
By Christine Simmons | October 31, 2017
Keila Ravelo Keila Ravelo
With her criminal trial originally scheduled to start in just two weeks, former Willkie Farr & Gallagher partner Keila Ravelo appears to have agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors, who have accused her of multiple felony charges in an alleged scheme to defraud her former law firms.
According to court records Monday, a plea agreement hearing is set for Nov. 20 in Newark before Judge Kevin McNulty of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The latest docket includes no mention of a trial that had previously been scheduled to begin Nov. 13, said William Skaggs, a spokesman for U.S. Attorneys’ Office in New Jersey.
Ravelo’s attorney, Steven Sadow, special counsel at Schulten Ward Turner & Weiss, said he is “not in a position to comment at this time” on whether his client has agreed to plead guilty to any charges. Skaggs also declined to comment.
Throughout her case, Ravelo, who was first arrested alongside her now-estranged husband, Melvin Feliz, in December 2014, has denied wrongdoing and has blamed Feliz. Her attorney, Sadow, has said Feliz he took advantage of her.
New Jersey federal prosecutors alleged the two used bogus litigation vendor companies to obtain more than $7.8 million from Willkie and Hunton & Williams, where she previously practiced.
Prosecutors said the couple funneled the majority of the funds into a joint bank account, using the money for personal expenses and investments. Ravelo is further accused of failing to report the earnings on her tax returns.
Ravelo has been charged with nine felony counts, including one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud and four counts of tax evasion. The maximum potential sentence for the conspiracy charge and each count of wire fraud is 20 years in prison, while the tax evasion charges each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
In August 2015, Feliz admitted to his role in the scheme, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of tax evasion. He is awaiting sentencing on the charges and a separate drug charge.
Before she was arrested, Ravelo was representing MasterCard as a defendant in long-running antitrust litigation in the Eastern District of New York. After her arrest in late 2014, Willkie conducted an internal review and uncovered behind-the-scenes communications between Ravelo and plaintiffs attorney Gary B. Friedman that ultimately led a federal judge to reject a settlement in similar antitrust litigation against American Express. The judge said Friedman improperly sent Ravelo confidential information and attorney work product.
In Ravelo’s criminal case, her attorney in the past year has been seeking documents from law firms in the credit card litigation and documents from Friedman, a potential witness at her trial.
Friedman was initially called a “possible co-conspirator” by investigators, according to court documents, but Friedman has said that he “was used” and not a suspect. He said he sent documents to Ravelo that she or somebody working for her “doctored” to make it appear as if they were produced by a vendor.
In an interview Tuesday, Friedman said he was last in touch with the prosecution in Ravelo’s case in early September and had no personal knowledge of a plea deal. He said the last conversation he had with Ravelo was about two and a half years ago, when he told her to “plead today” and “these deals don’t get better over time.”
“It’s a long dance for a lot of people,” he said. “At some point, you come to accept the reality of the situation and try to get the best deal available.”
Meanwhile, Friedman, whose legal career was upended after his communications with Ravelo came to light, is working on what he has called a “deeply personal memoir” related to the drama that will be out in 2018.
See the last pages for the list.
Customers of Howard Bowles' McGarvie's and Fiona Bennett's government board advised Parliamentary Inquiries they were lent on, threatened, defamed, in an extraordinary cover up as the FBI & SEC sought additional information into the board passing information to people who claimed they were connected to mobsters. McGarvie's customers also claim he misled the Opposition Minister for counter terrorism, Robert Clark, at the same time Austrac investigated mobsters and terror financing via the same I.T at the centre of the scandalous charges by the SEC FBI IRS and US top level prosecutors on CBA I.T Executives Hunter and Waldron and the Clinton's Eric Pulier.
CBA says it is "well advanced" in its search for a replacement for CEO Ian Narev (AAP)
Commonwealth Bank chairman Catherine Livingstone says the lender's search for a chief executive to replace Ian Narev is "well advanced".
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Commonwealth Bank's search for a new chief executive is "well advanced".
Chairman Catherine Livingstone has told shareholders at the bank's annual general meeting that Ian Narev, who is retiring amid the fallout of allegations the bank breached anti-money laundering and terrorism funding laws, is still scheduled to leave by June 30.
"A global search for Ian's replacement is well advanced, and we are considering internal candidates and external candidates from Australia and offshore," Ms Livingstone said.
Speaking at his final meeting as chief executive, Mr Narev again apologised for Commonwealth Bank's shortcomings and failure to spot breaches.
Mr Narev said CBA's operational risk management - which led to AUSTRAC's allegations - had not met the standards applied to lending, funding and markets.
"Our performance has been up with the best banks in the world on these dimensions," Mr Narev said.
"The same cannot be said of how we have managed some of our operational risks."
AUSTRAC, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, in August alleged CBA failed to provide on-time reports for 53,506 cash transactions of $10,000 or more between November 2012 and September 2015.
A statement of claim for a class action naming Mr Narev and Ms Livingstone has been filed in the Federal Court in Victoria alleging CBA failed to disclose alleged breaches to investors.
Customers of the legal services board went to US law enforcement as advised, they advised the Victorian Ombudsman, by the whistleblowing tipsters inside the ethics board. Crime syndicates. Terrorists, CBA I.T Executives and even the Clinton's I.T expert ended up on the wrong end of global law enforcement. Will the IRS rule that donations to the Clinton charity for purposes outside the USA, like opposing assisting Get'Up and closing the Adani Mine in Queensland, violate US tax law? Watch this space.
Maurice Blackburn launches CBA class action over AUSTRAC failings
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Commonwealth Bank is alleged to have delayed or failed to report more than 53,000 suspicious transactions.
Commonwealth Bank is alleged to have delayed or failed to report more than 53,000 suspicious transactions. Wayne Taylor
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by James Frost
Maurice Blackburn has launched a class action against Commonwealth Bank for the AUSTRAC debacle following the announcement from litigation funders IMF Bentham that its funding is now unconditional.
Lawyers acting in behalf of shareholders will allege the bank engaged in "misleading or deceptive conduct" in addition to "breaching continuous disclosure obligations in relation to its non compliance with the AML/CTF Act".
The statement of claim specifically names departing chief executive Ian Narev, chairman Catherine Livingstone, former chief risk officer Alden Toevs, current chief risk officer David Cohen and departing board members Launa Inman and David Higgins as among the bank personnel who had knowledge of the matter.
Commonwealth Bank declined the opportunity to comment at the time of publication, saying it was yet to be served despite the statement of claim being filed in the Victorian Registry of the Federal Court of Australia on Monday morning.
In a development that has the potential to see this case become even bigger lawyers from Maurice Blackburn have extended the claim period back to July 1, 2015.
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It follows a statement from chairman Catherine Livingstone in August that the board was made aware of "alleged issues relating to Threshold Transaction Reporting in the Intelligent Deposit Machines" in the second half of 2015.
IMF Bentham and Maurice Blackburn had previous said they expected the class action to be Australia's largest which implied recoveries in excess of $200 million.
IMF Bentham announced to the ASX on Monday morning that proceedings had been issued in the matter. Legal proceedings have been filed in the Federal Court on an 'open class' basis which means any buyer of shares during the period will be entitled to recover losses.
IMF Bentham says that following the bombshell announcement from financial intelligence regulator AUSTRAC that Commonwealth Bank failed or delayed the reporting of 53,000 transactions that the value of Commonwealth Bank shares fell 5.4 per cent over the next three trading sessions.
Maurice Blackburn's Andrew Watson said that the price drop was in the top 1 percent of price movements experienced by CBA shareholders in the previous five years.
Backdating the Class Period to July 1st 2015, Maurice Black say Cohen Narev and colleagues HAD KNOWLEGE, but kept things under rapps for 2 and bit years.
"Our investigations and analysis show that this drop was in the top one percent of price movements that CBA experienced in the past five years, so clearly the news was of material significance to shareholders," Mr Watson said
Investors who bought shares in Commonwealth Bank between July 1, 2015 and August 3, 2017 are able to register their details at www.imf.com.au/CBA
"They were terrified" says Dennis Sgargetta & Associates to the SEC, Victorian Ombudsman and Cameron Sinclair at APH.gov.au.
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Eleven already jailed over CBA money laundering syndicates
Michael Evans, Clancy Yeates
Published: August 5 2017 - 12:15AM
Two men recently jailed over a $2 million money laundering plot using a "cuckoo smurfing" scam are among 11 people already jailed as part of criminal syndicates caught exploiting Commonwealth Bank accounts to wash money.
Arlsan Shaffi and Salman Khan were arrested in May 2015 after laundering money using more than 100 CBA accounts in a complicated money-shifting scam.
The pair was jailed for a scheme involving the transfer of money between associates in separate countries in a manner that avoids the need for these parties to transfer money across borders and raise suspicions.
The pair laundered $1.78 million in cash deposits through 101 CBA bank accounts in 255 separate transactions. Authorities are now investigating the pair over at least another $3 million for offences under money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
The revelations come as pressure builds on the bank to respond to allegations ahead of next week's full-year results, which are expected to show another record profit of nearly $10 billion. Austrac has accused the bank of breaching anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing laws in a statement of claim in court.
The nearly 600 pages of allegations lodged in the Federal Court detail examples of organised crime figures laundering money through CBA's high-tech ATMs while the bank either failed to detect the transactions or failed to tell authorities.
Austrac alleges CBA failed to detect, review and report years of suspicious transactions worth millions of dollars involved in money laundering by drug syndicates.
At dozens of ATMs across Sydney and Melbourne, from Bondi Junction through Haymarket to Burwood, and in Melbourne from Chadstone to Springvale, Austrac alleges foreign nationals were part of four criminal syndicates that exploited a loophole in the bank's technology that didn't cap the number of cash deposits to its new ATMs.
Criminal syndicates would then transfer money offshore.
Members of four syndicates have already been jailed, including Yuen Hong Fung (6 years) and Yeuk Tung Kong (7.5 years). Shaffi was sentenced to five years' jail and Khan three years.
Austrac alleges that in one case, after the Australian Federal Police (AFP) informed CBA of laundering allegations, the bank did not act to manage the money-laundering risk.
Among other allegations, Austrac details:
CBA never assessed the money laundering and terrorism-financing risks it faced from its new ATMs prior to their launch in May 2012 and at no time prior to July 2015 did it take any steps to assess their risk;
Nearly $9 billion in cash was deposited through CBA's new ATMs before it conducted any assessment of the money laundering and terrorism-financing risks associated with the machines.
While banks are required to tell authorities within three days about suspicious transactions, transactions above a certain limit and concerns about fake identities, CBA sometimes took months to report concerns and in other cases never reported concerns, it's alleged.
In one instance, the AFP told CBA it suspected a customer believed to have laundered money had used fake identities.
The group head of anti-money laundering at the bank emailed to say: "Given the nature of the matter, I would have thought SMRs [suspicious matter report] are appropriate on all the clients?"
Yet according to the statement of claim, CBA "at no time" lodged an SMR with Austrac.
In another example, there is a two-week gap between when concerns about "blatant intense structuring activity" were raised within the bank on June 13, 2015, and when the customer's account was closed.
"It was not until 1 July 2015 that CommBank put a stop on this account at the request of the AFP," court documents say.
In court documents, CBA blamed "systems error" for failing to comply with transaction monitoring.
The bank's chief executive, Ian Narev, who will present the bank's results next week, wrote to staff on Friday, saying the bank would lodge a defence to the claims.
It came as CBA's share price tumbled 3.9 per cent, as analysts predicted a royal commission into the financial sector was now more likely.
Anti-pedophile activists knew he was going to be instructed to try to discredit a witness. The US SEC & FBI & Parliament & Victorian Ombudsman had Whistleblower Reports before Dr Doherty carried out his role in what became the $5.7 billion antitrust trainwreck. Transnational narcotics smugglers, defrauders of Mastercard and its lawyers, and criminal sham litigation services that funnell Australian Reserve Bank evidence in US Cases on US credit card businesses all adds up to one of the top "Cases to Watch" in 2017. Jeannie Pakula's and Howard Bowles' customers with the Auckland Savings Bank see CBA I.T Department scandal on US defense contractor CSC by the Clintons' and Al Gores' expert Pulier while elections were 'spied on' in Queensland that had the support of John Podesta and George Soros and the Clinton Global Initiative) aren't surprised that the Whistleblowers in the VLSB sad to report organised crime "sham litigation service companies" to US agencies. And aren't pedophile cartel rings of thievs of US corporate secrets under the executive order for extradition to the USA? www.linkedin.com/pulse/crooked-visa-mast...6-billion-settlement
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Illustration: Ron Tandberg
Illustration: Ron Tandberg
An undercover surveillance operation ordered by Commonwealth Bank has embroiled the institution in a spying scandal, with senior politicians monitored and photographed by private detectives investigating one of its critics.
The bank hired security firm G4S to conduct Operation Lantern, around-the-clock surveillance on consumer advocate and anti-banking lobbyist Michael Fraser between August 28 and September 1.
G4S, which conducted the controversial security operation for the London Olympics, claims it is ''a world leader in providing compliance and investigation-related services''.
Internationally, surveillance operations by governments and private firms are attracting increasing criticism and allegations of infringing privacy.
In a memo obtained by Fairfax Media, the Commonwealth requested photographs of people Mr Fraser met to ''allow for the identification of individuals'', and said it was attempting to confirm if he was receiving information from bank insiders.
At the time Mr Fraser was travelling from Brisbane to Sydney to attend a fund-raising dinner for Coalition senator John Williams, who is part of a Senate inquiry involving CBA with Labor senator Doug Cameron.
Other guests at the private fund-raiser included former NSW opposition leader Kerry Chikarovski, entertainer Kamahl and liquidator John Sheahan.
It was organised by lawyer Stewart Levitt, who is behind a class action against the bank. Also attending was Geoff Shannon, an aggrieved CBA customer who established the Unhappy Banking advocacy group and outspoken barrister Geoff Slater, who is acting for Mr Shannon.
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Senator Williams said when he found out about the spying, his initial thought was "What the hell is going on here? Why am I being monitored by some mob employed by the Commonwealth Bank."
Senator Williams said he contacted CBA earlier in the week and organised a teleconference with two senior bank executives for an explanation. "They confirmed the photos had been taken by the security company and gave assurances to me that they had ordered the photos to be destroyed. They apologised profusely," he said. "I accept their apology."
CBA confirms it carried out surveillance and said it was of ''a person who has conducted a systematic campaign of harassment, intimidation and threats to one of our employees over many months'' with numerous emails, text messages and phone calls to business and private numbers to a bank executive.
A spokesperson said the bank's concerns were such that it provided personal security to the employee and had contacted the police. An apprehended violence order has not been filed. ''In only the most worrying circumstances do we consider employing surveillance and these cases are very rare,'' the bank said.
The surveillance was organised on August 23, and on August 28 the target of the surveillance, Michael Fraser, tweeted and posted on his Facebook page that he was attending Senator Williams' dinner that night.
The bank denied it had known about the fund-raiser for Senator Williams. ''The only reason our surveillance came across the fund-raiser for Senator Williams was because the harasser attended it,'' it said.
The email from the bank instructed G4S to give updates throughout the four-day surveillance. It said: ''There is some suspicion Fraser is being fed information from another employee of the bank'' but ''we have not been able to confirm this''. It said he was ''harassing'' a bank executive and ''seems intent on destroying our employee's professional reputation and compromising his ability to work for the bank''.
CBA says hundreds of emails, text messages and phone calls were sent to the bank executive but Mr Fraser says over the past 10 months it was 68 calls, 30 emails and 23 text messages.
One of the guests, Mr Shannon from Unhappy Banking, who is co-ordinating a class action known as RG10, said when he found out he had been spied on he wrote to CBA's lawyers, Gadens, on October 17 questioning the bank's motives.
He said Gadens wrote back: ''I am instructed that the bank has not sought to obtain, nor has it obtained, nor engaged anyone else to obtain, any photographs or information in relation to your client as alleged in your letter.''
Mr Shannon said over the past two years his offices had been burgled twice and files taken. He did not know who had taken the files but he had filed two police reports.
Mr Fraser refers to himself as ''the Arbitrator''. He said in the past year he had represented dozens of aggrieved CBA clients. He told Fairfax Media his dealings with CBA began after a number of bank customers contacted him with allegations of low-doc loan fraud. He said he received standard responses to email correspondence with a bank executive, then silence.
He said over the past 10 months he had communicated extensively with the executive. He said his approach to those that would not do the right thing would always be ''peaceful, yet repetitive and psychological in an attempt to start a friendly dialogue or force them to reveal their lack of professionalism and lack of care for their affected customers''.
The text from Mr Fraser to the executive that triggered the bank's decision to email G4S on August 23 was ''I am coming to Sydney for 4 days from 28 Aug until 1 Sep. More of your close team wish to meet with me privately in relation to their concerns about you. These ones wish to remain anonymous.
''Two major papers are very interested in the story and taking notes. I just want you to know that I don't dislike you, I just want to see the right thing done in relation to a handful of large matters you are involved in. Would you be open to meeting off the record privately when I am in town. You are welcome to pick the venue and search me for recording devices. I will honour my word. Michael "
Pakula's file Com 2015 038 and 041, and Com 2016 0377 and 0378 and ENQ 2014 5607 are before the SEC IRS FBI USAO charged Jon Waldron and Eic Pulier. Is the Victorian Legal Services Board liable to Whistleblowers, Bank Shareholders, Crime Syndicates and Terrorists for blowing the whistle on the Exraordinary Cover Up in the IT Department of the CBA & Auckland Savings Bank by Fiona Bennett's Legal Services Board? What are your thoughts?
Can the Victorian Legal Services Board explain bribery claims that arrested Jon Waldron of the CBA Bank and had another retire US Police called Waldron get a Hush Deed, had Sgargetta threatened with jail as a $1m carrot was put to him, and had other customers of the VLSB say they were lent on? Why was the VLSB determined to find persons who reported the goons, the collusion and Gary Friedman's and Amex' misrepresentation of Reserve Bank material to the US Feds BEFORE the undercover operations proved "it all came true, we were dumbfounded", says Submissions to Parliament. “After losing my cases over and over, LSBC Insiders whispered to go to VCAT, the FBI and the US SEC. That was how deeply troubled the Legal Services Board and Commission people were. Who would think to call the FBI!? I thought they were insane. I did anyway. I am registered with a group at the SEC and the SEC might pay a reward if the Banks are fined. They spoke to other people about my case even though the LSBC is liable for damages if they blow the whistle or talk to the wrong people. (I estimate that I am entitled to over $3mill.)” “Soon afterwards, Channel 7 News said a tip off last year caused audits and arrests of bank executives. (I think the tip off was from the LSBC whistleblowers to the SEC Witnesses). The FBI wanted the Hush Deed. Inquiries were made by - Auditors from Ace Foundation - Auditors from Computer Science Corporation - An MP about an accountant in Brighton, - Bank Reform people in NSW - 60 Minutes’ producer for the ANZ Story that was aired in August this year - Fairfax and ABC - The FBI “IC” Division. - The SEC Office of the Director of Corporate Compliance - The SEC’s Senior Counsel - IBAC anti-corruption commission - Victorian Ombudsman - Parliamentarians who want the names of Legal Services Board officials - about the American Express Case. They lost billions because of the Reserve Bank of Australia “The LSBC told me to go away despite damning evidence and despite the FBI arresting people. You would think the LSBC might see a few ethics issues if banks executives are arrested over the same Hush Deed they said was legal and ethical. Elliot Sgargetta" And Jenny Pakula thinks it's unclear? Judge Garaufis confirmed the RBA material backed up his opinion in US & 17 States v Amex. Keila Ravelo confessed to collusion with Freidman. Freidman confessed to colluding with Ravelo. Judge Garaufis found the ethics so bad that he tore up a Settlement. Judges Winter Jacobs and Leval found the lawyers sold out their clients for the $544m in legal fees. Is it the VLSB's fault, and is the State of Victoria able to explain why cardinel Pell's pal McGarvie wanted to know what was known by an association that is opposed to the abuse of the disabled in institutional care homes, like the one Dr Peter Doherty was on the Board of until 2013. Strapping young lads with an IQ below 70 deserve answers.
December 12 2016
Law Reform Commission's elder abuse inquiry proposes compensation payments
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The appointed decision-makers of the elderly who abuse their powers could be forced to pay compensation by state and territory tribunals under a proposal by the Australian Law Reform Commission.
The body released its discussion paper on elder abuse on Monday. The wide-ranging document explored how best to protect older Australians from emotional, financial and physical abuse, calling for a national plan and prevalence study to address the issue.
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The Australian Law Reform Commission has released its discussion paper on elder abuse.
The Australian Law Reform Commission has released its discussion paper on elder abuse. Photo: Tamara Voninski
One suggestion was for a national online registration scheme of enduring documents - powers of attorney and enduring guardianship - to make clearer the appointment and role of that person.
Another was to allow state and territory tribunals to order enduring guardians and attorneys to pay compensation where a breach of their obligations has resulted in a loss to the person they represent.
Stop children stealing from elderly parents, discussion paper says
This would allow for the repayment of older people who were unwilling to involve law enforcement, the ALRC argued, while also working as a deterrent for the misuse of funds.
In its submission to the ALRC inquiry, Legal Aid ACT pushed for an expansion of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal's powers to allow the body to award compensation and impose penalties and sanctions.
Legal Aid ACT used confronting case studies to support its case for change. One story involved Alex, the attorney of her mother Beverley.
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Beverley's advanced health directive dictated she was not to be resuscitated. When Beverley became dehydrated, suffered heat stroke and fainted on a hot summer's day, Alex refused to seek medical assistance. Beverley's son Mark sought urgent legal advice and felt comfortable calling an ambulance.
In another case, Mona, an elderly woman who could not read or speak English, was kicked out of her son Hugh's home after a fight with her daughter-in-law. Hugh refused to provide his mother with her medication, important documents or bank account details and was later found to be withdrawing money from her bank account for his own use.
Mona would not pursue legal proceedings against her son due to the shame and stigma she felt at the relationship breakdown.
The Human Rights Commission urged people with views on the issue and discussion paper to make a submission by February 27.
Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson, a member of the inquiry's advisory committee, said elder abuse was a largely hidden phenomenon.
"The present inquiry into elder abuse draws much needed attention to this critical issue, which can have devastating impacts on older Australians physically, psychologically and financially," said Dr Patterson.
Parliament grilled David Cohen about what he knew.
Mark Holscher complained about Leaks
The Victorian Ombudsman wrote there could be Corupt Conduct in the Legal Services Board file C 2015 12800)
The SEC FBI IRS and DoJ charged Jon Waldron and Eric Pulier in September 2017
Howard Bowles lent on a landlord, Jones, and customer of the Auckland Savings Bank Sgargetta
McGarvie studied FINcen at Harvard
Fiona Bennett is on APRA's board with Wayne Byers.
Newspapers predict massive fines on the CBA because of Counter terrorism Laws
Bowles' files with family of Australia's Cybersecurity Minister are full of extraditable laws
Pakula thinks IBAC should investigate her board because it unclear how her file with cc's to the FBI and SEC show that McGarvie misled the Victorian Counter terrorism Minister Robert Clark - see www.scribd.com/document/335429767/Lsbc-J...to-Waldron-Sgargetta
What do you think? Can Pakula exonerate herself and her superiors about her files where her clients reported her and her associates to US law enforcement?