Wednesday evening I was having a little chat with the Diva, and I started to wonder about the offshore account theories surrounding Russell and Taylor Armstrong, and the money they took (but allegedly never returned) from investors. I wanted to see how hard it would be, first, to hide money in these types of accounts and, secondly, how hard it would be for those who were defrauded to recover it. The results of my late night sleuthing were stunning.
Just do a simple Google search with the terms “offshore accounts” and well, pick a country, and the responses are staggering. The Cook Islands, the Dominican Republic and Panama are just a few that loudly and proudly offer you all sorts of good places to hide your ill-gotten gains.
Since the Cook Islands has been the most frequently mentioned locale of the Armstrongs’ possible hide-a-bank, I will concentrate there. This is a very tiny nation with a population of around 25,000. It’s a beautiful place offering sun-kissed beaches, gorgeous weather and quaint resorts. It is an impoverished nation, well at least for the general population, with a per capita income of about $9,000. Both New Zealand and the People’s Republic of China offer aid on an annual basis, efforts which are less about altruism and more about political motives. It lists its main industries as agriculture, tourism, fishing and, what a surprise, banking.
Banks are abundant in the Cook Islands and business is very, very good. Between the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2011 alone, foreign assets increased 244%. Not bad at all. Even Goldman Sachs can’t claim those kind of quarterlies. It appears that if you don’t want your soon to be ex-spouse or hapless investors in your shell company to find the money, this is one of the places to go.
The real benefit for those in search of what one might call, oh, let’s say a tax shelter, is that the Cook Islands and their counterparts don’t care what kind of judgment or award a Court in the United States has written. This is where it becomes a financial and legal quagmire. These countries will simply not recognize or even acknowledge an order from any other country besides their own. They have passed laws which prohibit sharing any information with another country, thereby offering the best in privacy protection for those with stuff to hide. Add to this a culture of corruption among those who run these countries and banks, and you have all the elements of the perfect storm for those who have lost everything.
What this means is that plaintiffs are sure to be thwarted at every turn. While you may have that judgment in your favor from a United States Court, you will have to start the process all over again in those nations and in their courts. If the money has been put into banks in more than one of these countries, the effort would be never ending, with plaintiffs and their legal teams on a global treasure hunt. Not to be glib, but good luck with that.
So, to that end, the Armstrongs may have actually been pretty good at their craft. Their financial planning far surpasses a mere 401k or IRA. Settlement agreements normally range between 20 and 50 cents on the dollar. That means that Taylor, if there is any truth to the estimate of tens of millions in investors’ dollars, could be a very wealthy woman. With any luck, those corrupt politicians and bankers practice their own policy of quid pro quo.
Empress, I loved reading you and Diva’s banter. She’s a great asset to your site, or any other site. I love your writing. I’m from SC and have a great friend who has a horse farm. She’s a gentle soul like you. I told her about your site. I’m not good at blogging, but I sure love to read.
Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words. As for Diva, well, I have come to realize (and I have told her this) that, even if I never meet this wild, red-haired wife of a plumber, I know I have found a friend for life.
You are welcome at the barn anytime. 🙂
Good Friday Morning…. Thank you both for your kind words….The “red head” will now do a happy jig….
I was on the phone for over 3 hrs last night , well actually till 1:30 a.m. doing side by side research on our favorite character…LOL LOL
I believe I have found her agent/manager/lawyer ???
It would be interesting to know IF taylor can not access those funds ( if they do in fact exist ) what becomes of them ?? Do the Cook Islands retain them ??
The more time I spend looking into Taylor and yes Russell gets thrown in the mix…there is so much more to the saga than just appearing on a Reality TV show about BHHWS….So much more… My “inners” tell me Russell knew the end was near and there was no chance this game was going onto overtime and he had the ball…BUT Taylor…well that’s another story all together…
Someone needs to inform her that her teflon suit has lost it’s coating….Cause stuff is starting to stick……
I have some information that I’m trying to put together which might help explain how those types of accounts can either work or backfire. I’ll post on it when I can make it make sense for me and for everybody else. It’s not simple or easy.
So, the question remains, was this Russell’s last shot at her or was he trying to help her?
BTW – do you ever sleep? 🙂
Well, this was my question too. So they shelter the money there. Then what? Can they withdraw it and use it in the US? Can they bring ALL the money back, or just withdraw small amounts? It seems to me Taylor still must have some pretty substantial expenses. If she uses “Cooked” money for this, won’t the US take an interest? Or the courts who are suing her?
I have been talking to a couple of gentlemen I know whose professions have provided them with much more knowledge and experience on these types of things than I possess. I am working on a post which, I hope, might answer some of your questions – just as soon as I can make sense of the opinions and information they gave me on the Taylor hypothetical I presented to them.
Empress, when ex-governors and politicians are banking in the Bahamas…just smh at how con artists & politicians are cut from the same cloth, it would seem! Remember seeing Teresa (RHONJ) paying for everything in cash? Well that’s how they hide it. No record of the transaction…so it’s like it never happened. Once the money goes into a bank in the US then there is at least a reference point. How many times does one fly down to the Cayman Islands (or Cook Islands) and then return with suitcases full of cash, on a private plane? Got to follow those planes, along with the suitcases. I guess it would help to have a beach front house too, and a boat to offload your suitcases (or whatever) from the big ship to the shore.
Don’t even get me started on charities & family “trusts.” Any charity that is top heavy with expenses is just another way to con people out of their money.
SLEEEPPPP….. WTH is that….??? I get more done at night cause there are less distractions…
Armstrong Family Trust…Cook Islands. Manuel E Glaze… TRUSTEE…hmmm
Russells last shot at taylor took place that fateful weekend in August 2011… As a result of that , taylor will now see her life rewind and be replayed day after day after day….will it truly bother her…I dont beleive it will because she lacks moral compass and a sense of humality. She will live the rest of her life blaming Russell for where she is at and not accept any responsibilty for her part.
SORRY FOR ALL THE TYPOS…NEED MORE JAVA …..LOL
Russell & Taylor were always one jump ahead of the people trying to reclaim their money. Even the MMR lawsuit didn’t seem to phase them. So what was their plan? They were so full of themselves that they thought being on a reality show was the best thing to do? Were they planning “escape to the Cook Islands” someday to live on all that money? Guess they never saw how the reaction to both of them from the viewers would be less than favorable. I wonder out of the couple of million people that watch the show, how many know about these 2 scammers, the MMR lawsuit, etc? SMH even if a million people figure out what Taylor really is, Bravo will keep her on the show as the crazy hw everyone loves to hate…right? No doubt Bravo realizes just how perfect Taylor is as the villainess psycho bitch. And yes I do think Bravo is that vile.
I always figured that Russell wasn’t worried about lawsuits, claw-backs etc. because of how he hid the money. Taylor is smart enough that she won’t use those funds until the lawsuits are settled due to her “lack of funds” or whatever. Let’s hope someone (as well as Diva!) keeps a watchful eye on her in the future.
Really, does anyone else wonder if Russell further hid the money from Taylor before his suicide?
If you haven’t seen this movie about grifters with Anjelica Huston, you must!
taylor will have her day…Please BELIEVE ME…. and bravo will have theirs also….
Enjoy this video to calm your inner woman…It’s SO STUNNING….
ENJOY…Do full screen view and yes there is music….
LET’S HEAR IT FOR WOMANHOOD>
It’s like a drum beat in the background that everyone is listening for – “Follow the money.”
BTW, I love “The Grifters” and Anjelica Huston. Good news, she is going to star in a new show on NBC, “Smash”, about Broadway musicals. I think it first airs on Feb 6. Another great movie star comes to our small screens. 🙂
oh that sounds good! I’ll be watching.
Fab blog and thoughtful comments. Congrats on your new blogspace!
P.S. It makes me crazy when people fall for the DV story. Diva has done a great job capturing the real story.
Thank you for dropping by. Diva should be promoted for the work she has done.
Please come back often. 🙂