Things are not always what they appear.
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Thread: Things are not always what they appear.

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    Things are not always what they appear.

    We have a Mexican restaurant in our small town. It is a very popular place. The restaurant started out in half of a gas station building. Later they purchased & moved across the street to an empty former grocery store building. They purchased the building & property for less than $100,000. Word at the time was that they were going very far out on a limb to buy the building. I believe it was about 10 years ago when they moved to the new location. They also had another restaurant in a town south of us. They do not own that property. The owner of the restaurants lives in our small county, is friends with lots of people in the area & does not live a flashy life. The population of the county is about 7,000.

    Yesterday the restaurant was raided by Indiana excise agents. Information from local police is they are suspected of money laundering.
    When Indianapolis news reported this story, we found out that the owner also owned 3 other Mexican restaurants in larger towns west of us. With the latest being purchased in May of 2018. The purchase price of the building was $620,000. They also have a second restaurant in the same town. The property tax value of this property is $119,000. This town has a population of about 6,000 people.

    The 3rd location in is in a town south of the above 2 location town. They purchased the building for this location in 2007 for $410,000.

    I have lived here during all of the years that the Mexican restaurant has been in town. I have also been an elected government official during all of that time. I never heard anyone mention that the owner also had the other 3 locations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisR View Post
    I have lived here during all of the years that the Mexican restaurant has been in town. I have also been an elected government official during all of that time. I never heard anyone mention that the owner also had the other 3 locations.
    Hmmm... interesting. There is one question that I just have to ask..... How are the quesadillas?

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    If the charges are true, it wouldn't surprise me much. The owner did the "smart thing" - he led a quiet, non-attention getting life. The IRS used to do what were called "life style audits" on people to catch drug dealers, gangsters, etc. Basically they looked at if you said you were making $15k / year, but were living in a $750k house, driving a new Mercedes, etc., then you were somehow living beyond your means and they wanted to know how.

    Interesting that your guy managed to stay under the radar in such small towns. Living in a small town where 3rd and 4th generation locals are not unusual (I've only lived here 7 years and have been called an outsider), your guy must have stayed to himself. Otherwise everyone would have known about his real estate ownership. I wonder if he used different LLCs or something to buy the real estate?

    Not sure where in East Central Indiana you are located, but I'm in Ohio in the area of the intersection of I-75 (runs from FL to MI) and I-70 (runs from the East Coast to CO). I'm also a locally elected Township official and have seen presentations from the Sheriff's Office Drug Task Force Captain about the drug traffic in our area. He says we have three Mexican cartels operating in our area. If you're somewhat close to us, you probably have something similar going on. They are constantly busting drug mules here.

    I'm sure the locals are going to be talking about this after church on Sunday!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgayman View Post
    Hmmm... interesting. There is one question that I just have to ask..... How are the quesadillas?

    Probably don't matter now; everyone will be going to Taco Bell.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2LaneCruzer View Post
    Probably don't matter now; everyone will be going to Taco Bell.
    one place i've never been too-so far.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark02tj View Post
    If the charges are true, it wouldn't surprise me much. The owner did the "smart thing" - he led a quiet, non-attention getting life. The IRS used to do what were called "life style audits" on people to catch drug dealers, gangsters, etc. Basically they looked at if you said you were making $15k / year, but were living in a $750k house, driving a new Mercedes, etc., then you were somehow living beyond your means and they wanted to know how.

    Interesting that your guy managed to stay under the radar in such small towns. Living in a small town where 3rd and 4th generation locals are not unusual (I've only lived here 7 years and have been called an outsider), your guy must have stayed to himself. Otherwise everyone would have known about his real estate ownership. I wonder if he used different LLCs or something to buy the real estate?

    Not sure where in East Central Indiana you are located, but I'm in Ohio in the area of the intersection of I-75 (runs from FL to MI) and I-70 (runs from the East Coast to CO). I'm also a locally elected Township official and have seen presentations from the Sheriff's Office Drug Task Force Captain about the drug traffic in our area. He says we have three Mexican cartels operating in our area. If you're somewhat close to us, you probably have something similar going on. They are constantly busting drug mules here.

    I'm sure the locals are going to be talking about this after church on Sunday!!
    they have been busting mules on the Pa. turnpike for yrs now. which is part of the I-70 here by my place. they get busted for something like speeding, windows are tinted heavily, then once stopped, the dog finds what their hauling somewhere in the car. i say to myself-why in the world would u let urself be caught for doing something so stupidi mean i'm not for the drugs-but i think i could be a better crook than some of the ones caught

    our local DA just got caught dealing with drug people, making the women give him extra sex favors, in exchange for lighter sentences, etc., totally disgusting practice from a official of the law-IMO. and guess what-he got a slap on the hand-no jail time or nuthing. probation-ahhoh-he lost his lawyer license and probation for IDK for sure -something like 5 yrs-i think. IMO-he needs taken out and drug up and down the dirt roads by a rope hooked to a horse for his actions. i bet he would think twice then to do it again.
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    When I was 17 (gawd that was an eternity ago ) summer jobs were really hard to find, so lied about my age & got a job as a waitress in a bar with a pizza room in the back. Worked 4 hrs, got the free pizza lunch & left without telling anyone 'cause things seemed a little hinky. A week later, they called & asked when I was coming back to work. A week after that, the owner & a couple of others were murdered there. Reported on the news as a mafia hit.
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    Most people really don't know many of those that they think they do. Many people have secrets, some much bigger than others. Being private and concerned about your confidentiality is perfectly normal behavior. Hiding stuff and covering things you don't want others to know about usually only involves those actions or behaviors which have potential for significant negative consequences including, but not limited to personal shame or humiliation, career ending consequences, divorce, arrest, incarceration, etc.

    Frankly, I wish I didn't know much of what I do about many clients as it's a tremendous burden that I really could live without. In almost every case where I have discovered something, it's because the pieces of their lives really don't add up the way they would want you to believe they do. In some cases, these people have confided their "issues" to me because the only way they can truly achieve their goals or what they desire to do, is for someone to know of such matters in their lives. When we are handling their families estate planning or business succession planning, I have to be aware of issues which could entirely derail the whole matter. When it involves closely held businesses, it's the lively hood of all the employees and their families. Such things can have a tremendous impact on a very large number of people an even entire small communities.

    Reviewing a clients assets and financial records will almost always result in questions which require some answers. When the answers don't fit or make sense, it's usually because they are hiding something. It's not always illegal, more often, it's improper, immoral or "socially unacceptable". The thing that amazes me is often how far people go to create the illusion of legitimacy or "living a holier than thou life". An important thing to remember about dealing with people is that people always do the things they do for a reason.

    Very little of that which is important is done randomly or with indifference. When something which is normally relatively straightforward, such as property ownership or even business structures is unnecessarily complex or done so in a manner which is meant to make normal details obscure, this means more cost to establish and maintain such an arrangement. Usually, this is done to make the discovery of the actual owner much more difficult, which can have legitimate reasons. But such attempts to conceal that which is normally available information demands answers.

    Some people go to such great lengths to create a image or persona, you have to ask why someone would do such a thing. In some cases, it's their ego. Others, it's shameless self promotion for local politics or even career reasons. The more time someone feels they need to spend telling me how good they are, the more I wonder why they need to do this and the more suspicious of their motives I become.

    While I am a person of strong faith, I don't believe that interjecting one's personal religious beliefs or their faith into business dealings is appropriate. Far too often, I have seen people use their claims of being of one religious persuasion or another as reasons why you should do business with them. I feel bringing one's faith into the business transaction is often done for reasons of manipulation and as a confidence gaining scheme and I completely disagree with such actions.

    Let me tell you, "Dirty deeds ALWAYS stink." You can cover them up and you can try and hide them, but they almost always will surface.
    Most common way is during divorce when the mud starts flying. Or between business partners who can't get along. But when more than one person has knowledge of these things, the chances of it becoming known must be 100 times greater than if only one person knows. All it takes is one person who has knowledge of such deeds to feel slighted, get upset, start drinking or otherwise altering their mental state and trouble is on the horizon.

    Often, behind substances abuse or addiction issues is a dark, even dirty matter. Only true sociopaths aren't bothered by their past wrong behavior. Whether it's cheating on their spouse or stealing from work, or whatever the issue may be, there is usually enough of a conscience by people that their prior dirty deeds eat at them. Some deal with this by drinking, drugs, gambling, compulsive shopping, over eating, you name it. As the famous radio personality Paul Harvey used to say, "And now, for the rest of the story."

    Facebook has made the private information, marketing material for big business and it's just opened this major Pandora's box of social woes. I am simply stunned at people's behavior and what they will share with others and tell the world about themselves. Frankly, I hate to say this, but I have very few really close friends that I trust with my personal, important information. I have seen how people really are and it only makes me trust most people even less while it strengthens my love of dogs......
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisR View Post

    Yesterday the restaurant was raided by Indiana excise agents. Information from local police is they are suspected of money laundering.
    When Indianapolis news reported this story, we found out that the owner also owned 3 other Mexican restaurants in larger towns west of us. With the latest being purchased in May of 2018. The purchase price of the building was $620,000. They also have a second restaurant in the same town. The property tax value of this property is $119,000. This town has a population of about 6,000 people.

    The 3rd location in is in a town south of the above 2 location town. They purchased the building for this location in 2007 for $410,000.

    I have lived here during all of the years that the Mexican restaurant has been in town. I have also been an elected government official during all of that time. I never heard anyone mention that the owner also had the other 3 locations.
    I just noticed the comments about the Indiana Excise agents leading the charge, when I re-read the original post.

    Money laundering laws were largely adopted in response to the 9/11/2001 Terrorist attacks. The financial reach and scope of the Money Laundering acts were expanded when FINRA assumed much of the oversight on "Investment" regulatory matters following the 2008 Financial Crisis.

    I have been subject to the Anti Money Laundering Laws since their inception and know them very well, In fact, I am tested on them at last annually and must undergo fairly extensive compliance audits.

    I am very surprised to hear that the raiding authority was Indiana Excise Agents. I wouldn't be surprised to find out if either the actual scope of the investigation is focused on state tax compliance issues and the money laundering isn't something which is merely being investigated or couple simply be rumors. Generally, when the investigation is centered on Money Laundering Violations, those are all Federal Laws and often bring the Homeland Security, the Postal Inspectors, U.S. Treasury Agents and of course, the I.R.S. knocking DOWN your door.

    It will be interesting to see where this really goes. I can tell you that often, the big splash of the raid and seizures of property can be followed by very quiet reductions or even dropping of charges. Often, much lesser charges are actually pursued, if any charges at all.................

    A friend had his business raided and it made a big splash on the front page of the paper and TV local news. It was a locally owned Funeral Home and the owner was going through a nasty divorce. His ex-wife made outlandish claims of money laundering and "washing" dirty money.

    In the end, no charges were filed and the Feds moved on when they realized that the biggest infraction they found was the owner was having employees of the funeral home mow the yard at his personal residence while they were being paid by the funeral home using the funeral home's lawnmower. But, the damage was done and his business never recovered. His ended up having a disallowed tax deduction which he settled for about $3,800 in tax payments and penalties.

    When they raided this business, they wouldn't even allow employee's to grab their personal items at first. Everyone was forced to immediately exit the premises, even though one guy was in the middle of embalming a body. The "Agents" were wearing tactical gear and armed with Ar15 and other such weapons, wearing helmets, goggles, like they were looking for Osama bin Laden. Federal Prosecutors favorite promotion technique is big splashy raids and news stories. In the end, the lives they destroy when the facts end up different never seem to get mentioned........
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