U.S. To Recover Corruption Loot From Filipina Businesswoman

U.S. To Recover Corruption Loot From Filipina Businesswoman
Janet Lim Napoles at senate Dane Alegana / Flickr CC BY 2.0

The United States Department of Justice seeks to recover $12 million worth of U.S. assets obtained from a high-level corruption in the Philippines by Filipina businesswoman Janet Napoles. The complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles seeks to forfeit the proceeds from the sale of Napoles’ condominium at the Ritz-Carlton in Los Angeles, along with several assets, including a motel near Disneyland and a Porsche Boxster.


U.S. court to recover $12 million corruption loot from Janet Napoles

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil forfeiture complaint on July 14. The complaint seeks to recover approximately $12.5 million in assets found in the U.S. The assets were product of a decade-long bribery and kickback schemes by Napoles, a Filipina businesswoman.

According to the complaint, Napoles paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to Philippine politicians and other government officials in exchange for over $200 million in funding for fraudulent charities and disaster relief programs. Napoles used the supposedly charity funds for her own personal use and benefits, often draining accounts within days of government disbursements. The Philippines Office of the Ombudsman has charged Napoles and her cohorts of corruption. She has since been dubbed as the queen of the “pork barrel scam.”

The U.S. court found that Napoles transferred over $12 million to bank accounts in the U.S. in the names of, or controlled by, her family members, including two daughters. Napoles used the money to purchase numerous assets, including a condominium at the Ritz-Carlton in Los Angeles for her 21-year-old daughter.

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Napoles, while facing charges in the Philippines, sold the assets she acquired on American soil. The U.S. government now seeks to forfeit the proceeds from the sale of her assets, including “a motel near Disneyland in Anaheim, California; properties in Covina and Irvine, California; a 19 percent stake in a California-based consulting company; and a Porsche Boxster that was purchased for another daughter.”

U.S. not a playground for corrupt individuals

(Read more: Fil-Ams Boycott Apple Products Over South China Sea Dispute)

“Over nearly a decade, Janet Napoles allegedly stole millions of dollars in funds entrusted to her for development assistance and disaster relief for the people of the Philippines,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

“In an effort to disguise and enjoy her ill-gotten gains, Napoles purchased properties and other assets in the United States for herself and her family members, including a condominium at the Ritz and a Porsche.  The Justice Department will not allow the United States to become a playground for the corrupt or a place to hide and invest stolen riches,” Caldwell said in a statement.

“The FBI is committed to ensuring that the U.S. financial system is not used to launder the proceeds of foreign bribery schemes. Nor is the United States a safe haven for the fruits of corruption,” added Assistant Director in Charge David Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

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