Aug 3, 2018
US prosecutors discuss Napoles pork barrel scheme indictment
The latest chapter of the pork barrel scam is now going through the US district court in downtown Los Angeles.
The US Justice Department has filed a 57-page, six-count indictment against several members of the Napoles clan.
Those charged include alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, her daughter Jeanne, and family members Jo and James.
Her brother Reynaldo Luy Lim, and wife Ana were also part of the indictment.
“The indictment focuses on money laundering activity that occurred after the pork barrel scam became public knowlegde in the Philippines, after July of 2013 — after the news events were unraveling there and after news reports indicated properties were purchased in the United States with the proceeds of that crime, after bank accounts had been frozen in the Philippines,” said Atty. Daniel O’Brien. ‘That’s the events we focused on. Since that time We’ve been tracing money flows and interviewing witnesses and subpoenaing documents, until we’ve finally been able to bring it all together and bring the charges of money laundering today.”
Prosecutors outlined the intricate plot to funnel Philippine funds to foreign bank accounts –including 58 overt acts listed in the first conspiracy count.
It also lists two unnamed and co-conspirators, who have not been charged, and are cooperating with the investigations.
“The family tried to conceal their activities in a lot of ways, first of all in their communications they used codenames for one another; also for the properties that were at issue. They tried to use attorneys so their communications can be conducted under the veil of attorney-client privilege. They tried to set up attorney trust accounts so that the money could be sent back to the Philippines secretly. They enlisted the help of priests so they could create backdoor channels with a realtor here in the United States. In the case of Jeane, when she received a $60,000 check for the sale of her Porsche, rather than deposit it into her own bank account she actually tried to cash the $60,000 check at the dealerships’ bank here in the United States.”
With six individuals charged, Atty. O’Brien says it will be lengthy process before the Lim-Napoles clan steps foot in a US courthouse.
“Reynaldo Lim is still a fugitive obviously there’s still trial proceedings in the Philippines concerning Janet who has been charged, as well as James and Christine, who have been charged. We’ve charged those individuals also, two additional individuals also that haven’t been charged in the Philippines, Ana Lim, that’s Reynaldo’s wife and Jeanne Napoles,” he continued.
“There’s two things that complicate the extradition process. One is obviously there are pending matters in the Philippines that I would imagine the Philippine government would want to resolve. But that’s going to be up to the Philippine government… and then there’s the lengthy process that normally exists in extraditing individuals across the world to face charges on the United States.”
This criminal case is being dealt with separately from the 2015 asset forfeiture case, which has frozen the Napoles properties — including an upscale downtown condominium, a hotel in Anaheim, a commercial property in Covina, and a home in a gated Irvine community, as well as several vehicles.
O’Brien adds that case which will help return the funds back to the Philippines, is expected to go to trial next year.
Despite the complicated schemes that involved many people, prosecutors are not expecting to charge additional people.
However, they may add more counts against the current defendants.