Adrian Baron, the former Chief Business Officer and former Chief Executive Officer of Loyal Bank Ltd, an off-shore bank with offices in Budapest, Hungary and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States by failing to comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
FATCA is a federal law enacted in 2010 that requires foreign financial institutions to identify their U.S. customers and report information (FATCA Information) about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers either directly or through a foreign entity. FATCA’s primary aim is to prevent U.S. taxpayers from using foreign accounts to facilitate the commission of federal tax offenses.
Baron’s guilty plea represents the first-ever conviction for failing to comply with FATCA. When sentenced, Baron faces a maximum of five years in prison. According to court documents, in June 2017, an undercover agent met with Baron and explained that he was a U.S. citizen involved in stock manipulation schemes and was interested in opening multiple corporate bank accounts at Loyal Bank. The undercover agent informed Baron that he did not want to appear on any of the account opening documents for his bank accounts at Loyal Bank, even though he would be the true owner of the accounts. Baron responded that Loyal Bank could open such accounts and provide debit cards linked to them.
In July 2017, the undercover agent again met with Baron and described how his stock manipulation scheme operated, including the need to circumvent the IRS’s reporting requirements under FATCA. During the meeting, Baron stated that Loyal Bank would not submit a FATCA declaration to regulators unless the paperwork indicated “obvious” U.S. involvement. Subsequently, in July and August 2017, Loyal Bank opened multiple bank accounts for the undercover agent. At no time did Baron or the Loyal Bank request or collect FATCA Information from the undercover agent.
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