Tuesday, November 6, 2007

NCFE “money laundering is my business” and that he could set up offshore accounts for her.

‘Witness A’ for the prosecution

As if preparing to stand trial on Federal charges of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering wasn’t bad enough, now Lance Poulsen is accused of trying to convince a witness to have an attack of amnesia at his trial.

Oh boy. Mr. Poulsen, former chief executive of now-defunct National Century Financial Enterprises of Dublin, Ohio, was indicted last month on new charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

His trial on the other charges is slated for February, when he’ll battle prosecutors’ claim that he participated in a massive fraud involving the diversion of $2 billion-plus of investors’ funds, fraudulent investor reports, and the shuffling of money among accounts to conceal shortfalls at National Century. Along with Mr. Poulsen, seven other former execs have pleaded innocent in the case; four more have admitted to playing a role in the alleged fraud that culminated in the 2002 collapse of the company. One of them was CFO John Snoble, who pleaded guilty to money laundering and was ordered to begin serving a four-year prison sentence last January.

As serious a case as it is, these new charges against Mr. Poulsen really make things interesting. In a nutshell, prosecutors allege that Mr. Poulsen enlisted the help of a pal earlier this year to pay off a former National Century executive scheduled to testify during his trial.

The feds claim the friend, Karl Demmler, approached “Witness A,” who had already pleaded guilty in the case. Mr. Demmler allegedly told her that Mr. Poulsen wanted to make her “whole.” And he wasn’t talking about giving her an extra kidney or running away with her.

Rather, prosecutors allege, Mr. Poulsen wanted to pay her a good chunk of cash—an amount eventually pegged at $500,000—in exchange for her promise to suffer mental lapses on the witness stand when asked about what she saw or did at National Century.

Apparently, though, the FBI was eavesdropping on all these juicy conversations. They claim that Mr. Demmler assured Witness A that “money laundering is my business” and that he could set up offshore accounts for her. Conversations between Messrs. Demmler and Poulsen that focused on handling the deal with Witness A were also taped, according to the indictment.

Attorneys for both Messrs. Poulsen and Demmler failed to return calls seeking comment.

Incidentally, of the four execs who have pleaded guilty, only one was female. So unless the feds are pulling a fast one in the indictment, chances are she is the mysterious Witness A.

1 comment:

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