Janet Napoles and family indicted by a US grand jury for money laundering

Wednesday August 01, 2018 ()

Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and her family members were indicted by a United States grand jury on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) for money laundering. The Napoleses are accused of funneling $20 million in Philippine public funds in a multi-year bribery and fraud scheme involving some 20 Filipino lawmakers.

Charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, domestic money laundering and international money laundering were filed against Napoles and her children Jo Christine, James Christopher and Jeane Catherine.

Also charged were Napoles’ brother Reynald Luy Lim and his wife Ana Marie Lim.

Janet Napoles and duaughter
(A social media images which surfaced in 2013 shows Jeane Catherine Napoles in a stretch limousine on her way to one of her evening sorties in Los Angeles. Inset shows the mugshot of her mother and alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles following her surrender in 2013.)

The US Department of Justice (DoJ), in a statement, said a federal grand jury found basis to indict the Napoles family for siphoning to the US money from priority development assistance funds (PDAF) granted to members of the Philippine Congress and other government funds intended for poor Filipinos.

Money was released to dozens of fake non-government organizations controlled by Napoles, under contracts that required the money to be spent on development projects.

“The projects were not performed. Instead, the money was diverted to kickbacks for the legislators and other government officials, and for the personal use of the Napoles family,” the US DoJ said.

A lawyer for Napoles, Stephen David, has yet to respond to requests for comment.

The US charges that were filed were based on events from September 2012 through August 2014, involving the PDAF transactions.

Approximately $20 million from the converted PDAF funds were diverted to money remitters in the Philippines and then wired to Southern California bank accounts, the US DoJ said.

The money was used to buy real estate, shares in two businesses and two Porsche Boxsters, and to finance the living expenses of Jeane, Reynald, and Ana in the US.

Court documents also showed that approximately $12.5 million in Southern California real estate was seized by the United States Attorney’s Office and now subject to a civil forfeiture case pending before United States District Judge James Selna.

The United States, according to the statement, will work with Philippine officials in an attempt to return the stolen funds to the Philippine government once the court orders the assets forfeited.

“The efforts of the Philippine and American investigators demonstrates that there are consequences to abusing the public trust and we hope to deter such conduct in the future. To do this, we will work with our Philippine counterparts to secure the extradition of the defendants to the United States,” the statement added.

The Philippines, through the Department of Justice, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Anti-Money Laundering Council, and the Commission on Audit, has been providing assistance to US pursuant to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the two countries and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Sources:

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