Lapid Money Not Improperly Obtained, Says Her Lawyer

by Joseph G. Lariosa

 

CHICAGO – The private defense lawyer of Mrs. Marissa Tadeo Lapid said Tuesday (Feb. 5), “There was no evidence that any of the money involved in the case was improperly obtained – it was simply a failure to properly report the money.”

Eliot F. Krieger, a name partner in the California-based Jarvis, Krieger and Sullivan law offices, said in an email to this reporter that Lapid, the wife of Philippine Senator Lito Lapid, “pled to two counts that are reporting violations.  Yesterday, she received just three years probation for these violations. There was no evidence that any of the money involved in the case was improperly obtained–it was simply a failure to properly report the money.”

Krieger added, “Mrs. Lapid is relieved to have this over.”

When pressed by this reporter for comment where Lapid’s money could have come from, Krieger, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney himself with the U.S. Department of Justice, did not respond.

Meanwhile, Natalie Collins, the spokesperson of the U.S. Attorney’s office covering Nevada, assured this reporter that “if I hear anyone else being charged, I will let you know.”  She said her office has jurisdiction in the entire Nevada State, not just “U.S. District Court of Nevada,” which has two district courts, the other in Reno.

In the charging information unsealed Monday, Lapid was charged and found guilty of Count One bulk smuggling for bringing into the United States more than $40,000 without declaring the money at the port entry and Count Two of Conspiracy To Structure Transactions with Intent to Evade Reporting Requirements. There were also allegations that Mrs. Lapid “did knowingly and willfully conspire and agree with other persons both known and unknown to commit the crime of structuring transactions with intent to evade reporting requirements.”

But nobody else, however, was named as Lapid’s co-defendant in the Indictment papers.

MRS. LAPID TO COOPERATE FULLY

In the plea agreement that she signed, Lapid agreed to “cooperate fully” if requested by the United States to provide complete and truthful information and testimony concerning her knowledge of all other persons who are committing or have committed offenses against the U.S. if there is an investigation and prosecution of these persons.

Lapid also promised to “promptly turn over to the U.S. or other enforcement authorities or direct such law enforcement authorities to any and all evidence of crime; all contraband and proceeds of crime; and all assets traceable to such proceeds of crime.”

She will also submit a full and complete accounting of all her financial assets, whether such assets are in her name or in the name of a third party.
Lapid shall also testify fully and truthfully before any Grand Jury in the District of Nevada and elsewhere and at all trials of cases or other Court proceedings in the District of Nevada and elsewhere at which her testimony may be deemed relevant by the U.S.

If defendant violates any condition of her supervised release, the Court may order the defendant’s return to prison for all or part of the term of supervised release, which could result in the defendant serving a total term of imprisonment greater than the statutory maximum prison sentence of ten years.
Lapid also agreed that the information she provides could be used against her to establish relevant conduct.

The defendant will surrender assets she obtained directly or indirectly as a result of her crimes, and will release funds and property under her control in order to pay any fine, forfeiture, or restitution ordered by the court.

MRS. LAPID CANNOT COMMIT ANY CRIMINAL VIOLATION

Lapid also agreed not to commit any criminal violation of local, state or federal law during the period of her cooperation with law enforcement authorities based on this plea Agreement or at any time prior to the sentencing in this case.

On Monday, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen in Las Vegas sentenced Lapid to three years of probation, including five months home confinement, a $40,000 fine, forfeiture of $159,700, $100 special assessment per count and three-year supervised release after pleading guilty to cash smuggling and conspiracy to structure money transactions.

She was charged with Count One of bulk smuggling when she brought into the U.S. $40,000 without declaring the amount on her arrival at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Nov. 27, 2010.

Lapid was also charged with Count Two of conspiracy with other persons to structure transactions with intent to evade reporting requirements when she deposited in several banks in Las Vegas from Jan. 2009 to in or about June 2010 in an amount totalling $159,700.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy is a five-year prison sentence and a fine of $250,000 while the maximum penalty for bulk smuggling is five years imprisonment.

Because of her cooperation and “acceptance of responsibility,” the Court approved the U.S. government’s recommendations of two-level downward adjustment and an additional one-level downward adjustment of her sentence. The acceptance of responsibility “in a timely manner enabled the U.S. to avoid preparing for trial and to efficiently allocate its resources.”

Since Lapid is not a US citizen but an immigrant she will likely be deported after she serves out her sentence.

She had spent Christmas in the Philippines and since returned to the US, sources said. Senator Lapid’s camp refused to comment on the case.

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