A blackmailer jailed for extortion in the United States hid funds he held in the Isle of Man, a court has heard.
William Troper was jailed for 20 months by a court in New York in October 2009 after pleading guilty to an offence of ’mailing threatening communications’.
Troper defrauded no fewer than 11,892 victims across the United States by tricking them into believing they had written bad cheques or owed money, and inducing them to pay money to a purported collection agency to stave off threatened criminal prosecution.
After hundreds of victims complained, an investigation was carried out by the US Postal Inspection Service and Troper was arrested in December 2008.
District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan didn’t fine him after the defendant’s attorney claimed his client had few assets. Instead, the judge ordered him to pay restitution to his victims totalling $950,000, to be paid in monthly instalments.
But Troper only made three payments towards his restitution order, totalling $204,025, leaving a balance outstanding of $745,975.
In August 2016, the US Department of Justice contacted the Manx authorities seeking help in enforcing the restitution order by permitting repatriation of Troper’s funds held in the Isle of Man – specifically $409,322 held by him at Zurich International Life Insurance.
Troper requested that the Isle of Man court cancel the registration of the restitution order, arguing the US had not followed statutory procedures.
He claimed he had not been convicted of a fraud-related crime, had done nothing wrong and had run a legitimate debt collection business.
But the Court of General Gaol Delivery heard that Troper, now living in Israel, had hidden the fact he owed funds in the Isle of Man.
He had purchased three life insurance policies, worth more than $1,150,000, from Zurich International Life in the island in April 2007 and January 2008. These were purchased from an HSBC account in the island.
Deemster Alastair Montgomerie described Troper’s account as ’highly unsatisfactory’.
He rejected submissions that there were no relevant funds in the island when the restitution order was made.
Accepting the account of the US Department of Justice, he concluded Troper’s conduct was ’criminal’ and if the offences had been carried out here, would have amounted to blackmail, obtaining property by deception and money laundering.
He said: ’Given the lack of any payments since his release from imprisonment, I have concluded that the applicant has little or no intention of ever voluntarily making any further payments.’
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