Offshore scammer given 6 years in U.S Prison for $2.8M Investment Ponzi Scheme

67-year old Garry Milosevich who once operated out of Cinnamon Hill in the south of Grenada is now behind bars in the United States.

Milosevich, formerly of Duluth, Minnesota, was sentenced last week Wednesday in a U.S. District Court in Madison for operating a Ponzi scheme using the mail to defraud investors.

The convict was a close associate in Grenada of a former top official of the New National Party (NNP) government during its stint in office between 1995 and 2008.

Officials of the U.S Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) had visited the island on the trail of Milosevich who had left the island for an undisclosed location in Central America.

The convict had taken advantage of Grenada’s “open door policy” to offshore bankers to run afoul of U.S laws.

U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb on April 3 sentenced Milosevich to six-and-a-half years in federal prison, without parole, and ordered Milosevich to pay $775,000 in restitution to 19 victims of his fraud scheme.

Milosevich and co-defendant Daniel Tepoel were indicted by a federal grand jury on April 19, 2007.

Tepoel was convicted on March 27, 2008, of mail and wire fraud, as well as lying to the FBI, following a four-day jury trial. Tepoel was sentenced to 11 1/2 years in federal prison on June 6, 2008, and currently is serving his sentence.

Milosevich remained at large until January 2012, when he was found in Honduras and returned, in custody, to the United States.

Milosevich pleaded guilty on January 17, 2013. His sentence reflects the fact that-unlike Tepoel – he received a reduction in his federal sentencing guidelines because of his guilty plea, and – unlike Tepoel – he did not proceed to trial and obstruct justice by committing perjury.

United States Attorney Vaudreuil recommended the sentence (the highest sentence provided under the sentencing guidelines) and argued that the sentence was warranted because Milosevich was an extremely successful long-term con man whose criminal conduct seriously harmed the many victims of his scheme.

Judge Crabb agreed, finding Milosevich’s sentencing statements “neither credible nor persuasive.”

Judge Crabb told Milosevich that she hoped “someday he would have some understanding of the hell he put the investors through, and how he destroyed their lives.”

From about August 1999 to September 2001, Milosevich and Tepoel solicited individuals to invest in so-called “prime bank guarantees” – supposed financial instruments that are, in fact, completely bogus and do not exist.

They did so using the names Rainbow Management Trust and Interstar Management Limited. In connection with the scheme, Milosevich and Tepoel maintained several bank accounts in the United States and Grenada.

Milosevich and Tepoel provided promotional materials to investors and repeatedly assured them that extremely high rates of return were guaranteed and that their principal would never be put at risk.

Relying on these promises, dozens of investors invested millions of dollars with Milosevich and Tepoel.

Milosevich and Tepoel then used investor funds by spending them on personal items and by using the funds to invest in projects that did place those investors’ funds at risk, including a failed condo resort in Grenada called Cinnamon Hills.

To maintain the illusion that their investment was profitable, Milosevich and Tepoel mailed quarterly statements purporting to show high investment gains, when in fact, these statements were lies.

When investors did not receive their promised gains, they were given numerous excuses for the delay, including the events of September 11, 2001, and supposed theft of the money by government operatives.

Milosevich’s and Tepoel’s constant, but false, reassurances that the money would be forthcoming resulted in investors not reporting the scheme to law enforcement for years.

Ultimately, no investor received any of the promised gains, and most lost all the principal they invested, a total sum of approximately $2.8 million.

The charges against Milosevich and Tepoel were the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with assistance provided by the Country of Grenada.

Prosecution of the case has been handled by U.S. Attorney John W. Vaudreuil and Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith P. Duchemin.

 

Now we awaiting the first budget

In another week or so, the new Government of the NNP with all Fifteen seats in the Lower House of Parliament, will be in control for two months – and before the end of this month the Nation’s Budget must be in place.

We have had a whole lot of huge sums quoted by those in authority, touching and concerning debts and other payments due and owing by the Government to many sources outside, and no doubt to some on the inside from whom credit facilities had been obtained over the years, to carry out the operations of the state.

Some of those debts go back for many years before the last Government took over control in 2008, and during the thirteen years that the current controllers were in charge of the nation’s affairs.

And because of that situation, I would imagine that the losers who do not even have a voice in the Lower House, they would be feeling that is a straight case of political justice – so that the party whose officials amassed the huge debts between 1995 and 2008, they are now back in the driving seats to deal with the problem.

The sadness surrounding that state of affairs, however, is that the people as a whole are the ones who will be suffering the hardships, while those in control go about the painstaking business of seeking concessions, and getting extensions to enable them to provide basic necessities, as well as some long-awaited jobs opportunities.

It is not going to be smooth sailing by any means, and those in authority have their task cut out to satisfy their supporters and the people as a whole.

We have also been faced with serious shortages in the Hospitals and the Ministry of Health as a whole, and I also heard the new Minister, Dr. Curwen, lamenting recently on how desperate the situation had become – and from the account she was giving, as far as funds are concerned not only for medical supplies, but also for repairs and additional accommodation, to cope with the increase in required health facilities in the Ministry as a whole – it is very obvious that some immediate measures must be put in place very much sooner than later.

We heard all the nice sounding promises from those now in control during the campaign and Rallies – and there is no doubt what-so-ever, that the great majority of voters fell for the promises and gave the winners their total support and approval.

The result of the nineteenth February put the new controllers in absolute control of the seats of power – so that whatever they decide to do, that needs the approval of Parliament and the sanction of the Governor General – there is nothing to stop them.

But now that the new rulers are in charge, and coming face to face with the practical reality in the affairs of the Administration as a whole – they are already discovering that all the glittering and vote-catching promises are not so easy to deliver.

Of course the people themselves have to be reasonable and understanding, and ready to always appreciate that certain activities by a Government cannot just happen overnight, or simply on the say-so of the Ministers in charge on a daily basis.

Some things can and should be done as soon as possible but there are many others that need a lot more time to come on stream.

In cases where the Government can obtain the Finance, from Loans or Grants or however it can, for specific projects that can be carried out by contractors here on the Islands, these should be put in place to help those many, many families who are in serious financial straits for some time now.

On the issue of cutting down costs in the various departments or ministries, these should be undertaken at all times and maintained; but where the savings are concerned only with sending home workers – who have been in the positions for some time and have no other means of maintaining their families – that kind of operation must be carefully considered and avoided as much as possible.

The next big event for the new Government is the passage of the Budget for this year before the end of April.

No debate on the figures or programs is expected, because all in the Lower House are on the same page as it were – but I suppose we should hear some comments from the Upper House where there are Six Senators who owe no allegiance to the Government as such.

And with everything now subject to some sort of changes, and with so many new people in the seats of power since February 19th – we are also hearing of a new Governor General to take over from Sir Carlyle Glean, who came on the scene with the NDC in 2008.

And the news from the inner circle is that we could be having a female Governor General to replace Sir Carlyle as the Queen’s Representative. All part and parcel of the changing political scenario, brought about by the clean sweep victory at the Polls in February.

But what the unemployed thousands, and those struggling to make ends meet in these hard times, are more interested and concerned about – are how soon they will be seeing the many promises, or at least some of them, coming on stream to make some difference to their lives now in dire need.

There can be no denying that there is a whole lot to be done, or put in place to get things up and moving in the right direction, so as to make some significant difference to the lives and livelihood of our people.

Nothing was put or left in place, that can be taken up or relied upon to get the Economy up and running anytime soon – and therefore the new controllers have to devise or come up with their own plans and schemes, to get that sleeping Economic animal awake and functioning again.

A whole lot of our people are in dire need of basic necessities, and no time should be wasted in trading ole and baseless complaints about what did not happen over the last four and a half years. Very little happened or was put in place by the losers, except their self-inflicted destruction of the Government and the party that got them into the seats of power in 2008.

What our people and the nation state need now – is very open and carefully thought-out policies, for the good and welfare and the benefit of the population in general.

We have had more than enough blaming and complaining, and it is more than ample time to start putting systems and ideas together to produce worthwhile results.

The losers will be finding all kinds of faults and shortcomings to moan about, but no time should be wasted in replying – positive actions, performance and results, should be the only response, and the best way to respond is with a Budget that will set the stage for progress and employment opportunities.

Government to review new hospital project

The much talked about new hospital with a teaching component that was being promoted by the former Tillman Thomas Government as an urgent priority as one of its capital project priorities is apparently being placed on the back burner by the New National Party (NNP) administration of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

This was manifested in the Throne Speech delivered by Governor-General, Sir Carlyle Glean that outlined the immediate plans and programmes of the new government in St. George’s.

Sir Carlyle noted in the speech that government will give “careful consideration” to the proposal for a new hospital as part of the “new economy” that is being promoted by the Mitchell regime.

According to the Head of State, the consideration will examine the key issue of affordability and improved service delivery.

“It will also take into account how much a new hospital can best leverage St. George’s University (SGU) and its alumni network, as well as create more opportunities for medical professionals locally and in the Grenadian Diaspora,” he said.

However, the Governor-General spoke of government exploring possibilities for the establishment of an international Nursing School given the global shortage of nurses.

The provision of a new health insurance scheme was also outlined in the Throne Speech.

Sir Carlyle said government will soon establish a commission to review options for health care financing and to make a recommendation to the Cabinet of Ministers.

Productivity and Punctuality Council

I write in regard to PRODUCTIVITY and PUNCTUALITY in the State of Grenada. This is in regards to ALL areas of our Lives and in all areas of our operations that are very Low or do not exist.

Therefore I urge us all to consider and make a decision to adopt Productivity and Punctuality in Grenada and to beseech the Government of Grenada to make same OUR Policy.

The country of Barbados has adopted and successfully set up a Productivity and Punctuality Council almost Two Decades (20) years ago and today Strikes and other Disruptions in production are scarce or minimal.

Recently Jamaica has adopted this concept and we can be next.

I am in contact with my former Co-worker at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) who can assist. He started the Council with TWO (2) persons and now has a Staff of Eighteen (18) persons.

They offer Services in areas such as:-

 

*Performance Management

*Benchmarking & Best Practices

*Job Evaluation

*Strategic Planning

*Productivity Management

*Productivity Training

*Process Management & More

 

I can contact the Executive Director of the Barbados Productivity Council and I am sure he can help Grenada if there is an interest in Grenada.

I await a response from the Powers-that-be.

 

Dr. E. Reginald Buckmire, MBE

 

Brinkmanship or grand-charge?

The world has been held in captive suspense recently by threats of a

nuclear attack emanating from Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, a contentious juvenile who has barely made his entrance onto the demanding stage of geopolitics, is sabre rattling.

Kim has threatened to set off a conflagration on the Korean peninsular and beyond, by firing nuclear missiles into the heartland of the United States of America, her interests in the Pacific like Guam, and South Korea.

“Well, young Kim, if yuh name man, launch”.

 

Roger Byer

Accepting our economic reality

I have read very carefully a report by a team of economists at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the economic challenges facing Caribbean countries in relation to their current fiscal and debt situations.

The more I read the report, the more I question myself about the extent to which we in the Caribbean continue to behave as if we do not understand the economic reality confronting us as small, open economies.

The report entitled, “The Challenges of Fiscal Consolidation and Debt Reduction in the Caribbean,” was prepared in November 2012 and distributed as IMF Working Paper, number WP/12/276.

One of the amazing aspects of the report is that virtually all that has to be said and understood in relation to the plight of Caribbean countries was very decently captured in the abstract.

For example, “The analysis shows that major debt reductions are associated with strong growth and decisive and lasting fiscal consolidation efforts. Since growth in the current environment is virtually nonexistent, significant fiscal consolidation is inevitable in the region. Better control of the public wage bill, increasing public sector efficiency and tackling transfers are the obvious targets to reduce spending. On the revenue side, there is ample room to reduce tax expenditures, eliminate distortions while broadening the tax base. Fiscal consolidation needs to be complemented by a comprehensive debt reduction strategy including tax policy reforms and structural reforms to boost competiveness.”

After all, is it not true that the opinions expressed in the preceding sentences is a true reflection of the economic reality in the Caribbean? What is new?

The debt problems in the Caribbean are undoubtedly the result of massive build up of expenditure under circumstances where revenue collection could not keep pace. Hence, over time, fiscal deficits soared and governments resorted to borrowings to finance their ever expanding activities.

Logically, therefore, the debt problems can only be resolved if fiscal deficits are brought under control and our economies begin to register sustained levels of growth and development accompanied by larger revenue generation without higher taxes.

Clearly, therein lies the challenge. Huge fiscal deficits are unmistakably a drag on economic growth. Hence, one may conclude that generating higher rates of economic growth in Caribbean economies also requires some degree of control over our fiscal deficits.

As the report makes clear, reducing our fiscal deficits require action on both the expenditure and revenue sides. But reducing expenditure and increasing taxes are both contractionary fiscal policies with the potential to slow economic growth even further.

Hence, the economic reality facing the Caribbean at this crucial juncture is clear: To return our ailing economies to a sustained growth and development path that would provide a platform for reducing our existing debt burdens, we have to be prepared to accept some pain in the short term.

The more we delay reforms (on the fiscal side, in relation to debt consolidation, or even in relation to the structure and competitiveness of our economies) the more damage will be done to our economies and the remedies would be more costly overtime.

What about that simple message we seem not to understand?

 

(Dr. Brian Francis, the former Permanent Secretary in the local Ministry of Finance, is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics at the Cave Hill Campus in Bridgetown, Barbados of the University of the West Indies)

Questions for the Police

Is the R registration still in effect for vehicles to be used as rentals?

If it is in effect why is it not used by the persons doing rentals in this country?

Is it a case of the police turning a blind eye to lawbreakers?

If the law says that all rentals must have the R at the beginning of their registration, what is the penalty for not complying?

Is it a case of the owners beating the system and not paying the taxes due to the government?

Are the owners doing this because a lower premium is charged by the insurance companies on P (private) vehicles as opposed to R (rental) vehicles?

Whatever the reason or reasons for what is happening presently the relevant authorities must move speedily to regularise the existing situation.

 

Upright Citizen

Is the “Cancer doctor” coming back?

Dr. Carl Niamatali  once headed Grenada’s cancer programme

Dr. Carl Niamatali once headed Grenada’s cancer programme

Controversial Guyanese “Oncologist” Dr. Carl Niamatali could return to Grenada to give his services under the New National Party (NNP), which is back in Government after a five-year hiatus.

During Tuesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Minister for Health, Dr Clarice Modeste-Curwen was asked to comment about reports circulating in the country that Dr Niamatali is returning to resume work as an oncologist at the island’s main Hospital.

This, she said was not rule out, adding there is “no commitment to engage him in a permanent way”.

Dr. Niamatali headed Grenada’s Cancer Programme under the former NNP-led government until its defeat at the polls following the July 08, 2008 General Election.

The Guyanese born medical doctor who lived in Ireland for a number of years was given a one-year contract to operate the country’s cancer programme at the General Hospital but was unmasked when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government took office as not having the qualifications of an Oncologist.

Having served under the present Health Minister, Dr Modeste sought to justify the employment of Dr Niamatali as an Oncologist by saying to the media, “he came to us highly recognised from Ireland”.

When asked if the discoveries that Dr Niamatali was not fully qualified to practice as an Oncologist, and whether or not she is concerned about the possibility of his return to the cancer programme, Dr Modeste suggested that the media question the patients who received his services and check the statistics for the period under which he served.

She disclosed that Government has no commitment to engage Dr. Niamatali in a permanent way.

Former Health Minister Karl Hood had reported to the local media about some discrepancies he discovered in the national cancer programme that was launched in 2007 by the NNP administration.

The then Junior Minister in the Ministry of Health, Senator Ann Peters sat alongside Hood at the media briefing.

“What we have found as we looked at the programme, and we looked at the personnel involved is that we have had … a specialist on contract in Grenada that actually was not a specialist. In other words, there was no qualification that justified his involvement in a programme like this”, Hood told reporters as he reported on Dr Niamatali.

The issue was elaborated upon by Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Dilip Mukerjee who explained how he had actually made the discovery after being bombarded with complaints from persons seeking cancer treatment.

“I was getting concerned about it, and then to the extent that it became an official complaint… I say let me go deeper into that and then I asked for documentation. To my surprise there was none. So I asked for all his (Niamatali) credentials, his qualifications… to submit to the Medical Registrations Board”, he said.

“Although he (Dr. Niamatali) has some experience working with some renowned Oncologists, that doesn’t make somebody (a) specialist, and based on the submission of the documents, the Board registered him as a General Practitioner,” he added.

The Guyanese Doctor was also accused of procuring by himself the drugs used in the cancer programme to sell to the General Hospital rather than ordering them through the Procurement Department within the Ministry of Health.

Former Director of Service, Terron Gilchrist told the media at the press conference that the medication ordered by Dr. Niamatali had a short shelf life of approximately two weeks.

Dr Niamatali came to Grenada following the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004 through Direct Relief International, which assisted Grenada with pharmaceuticals and equipment.

In 2005, an arrangement was worked out with the Ministry of Health for Dr. Niamatali to visit Grenada every two months to start an outpatient oncology clinic.

A formal arrangement was reached with him in 2007 through financial assistance provided by telecommunications provider, Digicel.

Dr Niamatali’s contract was not renewed in August 2008 by the Congress administration and he was subsequently replaced by internationally acclaimed Oncologist/Hematologist, Grenadian born Dr. Trevor Layne who is based in the United States.

 

Bus Driver dies in fire

Remains of the house that was gutted by fire

Remains of the house that was gutted by fire

A St. George’s bus driver has perished in a house fire.

A release issued by the Community Relations Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force says that police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Wayne Rougier whose charred remains were recovered from his La Mode, St. George residence last week Thursday night.

Residents in the area report that fire had engulfed the house late in the night and no one knew that Rougier was inside the building.

The body of Rougier, believed to be in his forties, was later discovered among the ruins as the fire completely destroyed the house.

According to the Police release, Rougier was last seen at about 11:15 p.m. on the night of the fire.

The deceased is said to be originally from Springs in St. George’s and moved into the La Mode house that is believed to have been owned by his father.