“Hiding in Plain Sight” Spitzer and Okun: Did They Want To Get Caught?

Reuters.com published this article on March 25, 2008: “US News”

Reuters.com published this article on March 25, 2008: “Business and Finance” 

FoxBusiness.com published this article on March 25, 2008

Did Eliot Spitzer and Ed Okun want to get caught by the authorities? Spitzer held his career killing federal endictment insighting activities in Washington D.C.. The worst place to keep a political secret on the planet is Washington D.C..

In the same light, Ed Okun’s undoing may have come primarily due to a ill advised moment of weakness that foreshadowed the man’s apparent disregard for taking chances regardless of circumstances. Of the 3 charges Okun faces, the money laundering charge may be the most difficult to fathom–and the most embarrassing.

According to a federal indictment, Okun instructed employees to “smuggle” $15,000 in cash via courier, to his yacht in the Bahamas, in order to avoid federal currency reporting requirements. Costar.com’s Mark Heschmeyer provided a quote from the indictment that illustrates just how blatant and careless Okun had become:

“[C]ould you fed ex $15,000 cash (large bills and pad the package with paper on both sides so it looks like a thick document, you may want to put it in several envelopes so they can’t tell what it is) to me here in nassau people don’t like credit cards here. I would suggest cashing two checks one for 5,200 and one for 9,800 so you stay under the 10,000 cash reporting with the irs or better yet take someone else with you, you cash one and they cash the other. I need it sent priority next day to: Atlantis Marina, Paradise Island, Nassau Bahamas, C/O motor Yacht Simone slip #4041, Telephone number 954-328-1481. Thanks, Ed.”

Just for the record, the excerpt within the above comment, “. . . I would suggest cashing two checks one for 5,200 and one for 9,800 so you stay under the 10,000 cash reporting with the irs or better yet take someone else with you, you cash one and they cash the other. . . “ brings up some interesting points:

1. IRS: Why would anyone ever mention the IRS by name in any type of communication when they are under federal investigation?

2. $10,000 IRS Reporting Limit: To my knowledge, the reason why the IRS instituted a federal law requiring any transactions $10,000 and above dates back to the Cocaine Cowboy days of drug smuggling and dealing in Miami. This was one of the government’s weapons against money laundering.

3. Employees or Partners: If Okun had “his” people committing unlawful acts is it possible that someone else may have been equally responsible for the $160,000,000 embezzlement? Or are we looking at a situation where there were just a large number of “associates” very willing to help Okun spend or steal from Okun himself? Nobody knows but questions remain.


10 thoughts on ““Hiding in Plain Sight” Spitzer and Okun: Did They Want To Get Caught?

  1. Well, one assumtion you made was that the email from Okun regarding the 2 checks of $9800 and $5200 was made AFTER he was under Federal investigation. Now, I don’t know for a fact, but since I can read that it was made electronically (email) to an employee, the evidence was probably obtained when the Justice Department raided IPofA April 07. The copied all the computers. So, the evidence of letters from his attorneys telling him he was doing something wrong and the email to an employee to smuggle some money was probably sitting in his computer or the computers of the other employees. One thing for sure, if that person moved that money (or people) they will have a lot to worry about. Okun tells them that it’s illegal, and if they did it, it’s not different from a boss telling a person to go get a gun and rob a bank. Hello? Duh, did they actually go through with it as a stupid, nieve person. No, I think not. This was an employee who was trusted enough by Okun to whom he could give illegal instructions and they would carry it out. Certainly he did not act alone in the other embezzling. If it was a new employee, he wouldn’t be so careless as to tell someone new to do that because he wouldn’t know how they would react. But also realize that this person was in a high enough position to have access to the bank account where they took the $15K. So, we know there is a trusted, tenured, high up person who will certainly be the next indictment.

  2. O,

    Assumption? I simply quoted what was written by Mark Herschmeyer of CoStar and what was released in the indictment regarding Okun’s instructions to his employee or associate.

    Actually we do not know there will be a trusted “tenured, high up person who will certainly be the next indictment.” The govt might not want to waste the paper stock to serve such a character.

    This not about finding some Kato Kaelin caddy shoe shine butler. The G has more than enough ammo to bring Okun down without charging or trying to flip a low level hanger on.

    This article was about who was involved with Okun? Who was a possible accomplice of substance aka a person who was actually running the scam while Okun played the figurehead like our current C student in the Whitehouse.

    Nobody cares about this underling and this person will be dealt with in due time–but who really cares?

    It’s the people who may have helped spend $160 million that matter not the little guys in the background.

  3. What I’m saying is your “underling” may be a person who helped spend $160M. They can’t be such a underling if they had access to a bank acct. Do you give your handyman access to your acct?

  4. O,

    You’re still missing the point. A general underling is not going to have access to anything more than a petty cash account.

    Why? Because somebody that small would flip in a heart beat as they would not have millions to bargain or defend themselves in court.

    Without access, the underling is not a target of the government.

    Okun would not give a underling access-period.

    The target(s) would be somebody in Okun’s league, somebody who was smart enough to grift Okun himself understanding that he would not be able to run to the police. How do crooks get justice when other crooks steal from them?

    Ask the mob, they have long been a “police force” for crooks.

  5. You’re missing MY point. I’m suspecting the person who moved $15K is not an underling but yes, someone with access to larger accounts. Just by your definition that an underling would not have access-period. . . this person DID have access to an account; therefore, not an underling. I don’t think $15K is petty cash, hence, they have access to larger accounts.

    Just because he asked someone to give him $15K does not mean they are the janitor working for him. Maybe it was his wife, maybe a CEO, maybe the attorney, maybe hidden accounts. . . but regardless the person who was asked is not the janitor; it’s someone with power and THEREFORE the government WILL BE a target of the government.

  6. No I understood your point the very first time. Someone who is an equal to Okun is not going to shoe shining $15,000 into an envelope with newspaper stuffing. That kind of crap is done by an underling not somebody with the brains to bilk Okun and make him the patsy in a $160million rip off.

    Let me help you with something here my friend. When I asked a major media magazine editor why they are not writing on the Okun subject and his arrest, the answer was simple: $160million is a drop in the bucket.

    To you and me $15k is alot of money I agree.

    You make the illogical assumption that because a “gardner” or crooked Kato type has access to $15,000 that “they have access to larger accounts.”

    WRONG. It doesn’t work that way. Having access to a petty cash account does not mean that one flunky accesses larger OFFSHORE accounts.

    By the way did you see that Okun had most of his money, at least what they could find, offshore? No he could not access cash in the Bahamas without getting nailed.

    Where are you dreaming this stuff up?

    His wife was with him in the Bahamas so how is she going to send him the cash?

    “THEREFORE the government WILL BE a target of the government.” What are you talking about?????????????????????????????????????

    All the players who Okun did business with are identified. The government knows the players.

    ONE LAST TIME and I am done on this one:

    Someone with Okun like power would not lower him or herself to doing such a menial task. Nobody in this case will magically appear wearing a butler’s suit, gardners gloves, or maid’s skirt and be the power behind Okun.

    IF and I repeat if there is an Okun accomplice with the same power and the same culpability, if there is a trusted Okun partner who has bilked as much from Okun and Okun has from you the 1031 Tax Group victims, that person would NOT BE STUPID ENOUGH to get caught launder A MERE $15,000 to help dear Ed.

    Please I invite you to WRITE A BLOG AND TAKE A CHANCE if you have the answers then take action. . . if not then you do NOT have a leg to stand on.

  7. There are many of us who worked for ED who have a real good idea who sent the $15,000 and also know a lot more than they pretend to know about dealings of Ed Okun. There are people who worked for Ed that knew exactly what he was doing and chose to work for him anyway. I knew when I was working for him, that there was a problem when the CFO and the entire legal team in Virgina all resigned the same day.

  8. Bobbie,

    I am sure that many people know who sent the $15k including the authorities trying Okun’s case. What I am not sure about, but have been hearing unsubstantiated rumors to the effect, is the idea that Okun had accomplices or he himself was ripped off.

    If you worked for Al Capone, without actually killing anyone, would that make you guilty of a crime? According to the law it would depend upon your role. Emotionally or morally those who worked for Ed should chew on this for a moment:

    Ed Okun stole and robbed $160 million in retirement monies. The majority of the people who have commented on this case have explained, in excrutiating fashion, that Okun wiped them out. NO retirement funds, no money to live on, nothing in the bank, flat broke!

    Do you remember Enron and what the crook that ran Enron did to his employees? Many were left penniless with no retirement funds after 30+ yrs of service to Enron. That man, Kenneth Lay, died from the pressure of knowing how many people he _ucked.

    If you knew there was a problem why did you continue to work for Okun?
    Did you receive all the monies owed to you for your work?


  9. Okun for a long time has known the rule on 10K transactions, As employees we have gone to the bank and withdrawn under the limit to give him cash for the weekend or an up and coming trip. I don’t think any of us knew if we delivered in the form of cash to his planes, boats etc. That it was illegal. That does not make his employees criminals they just did what they were told in order to keep jobs

  10. Dear Someone,

    The threshold for IRS reporting has not been 10k for sometime now so I am unsure why Okun thought it was that high. My bank, when I asked innocently, would not tell me the limit but it is far below $10,000 in California.

    Doing what you are told in order to keep your job is a good idea in most cases.

    But if you are being asked to perform illegal acts, that you understand to be illegal, then the authorities may not look upon your statement “That does not make his employees criminals they did what they were told in order to keep jobs” with much sympathy.

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