The Doj CEO Phantom and his associates were convicted on charges that involve facilitating the importation and distribution of narcotics. These charges were made following a complicated investigation that resulted in the forfeiture of tens of millions of dollars in identified assets.
Department of Justice
A recent indictment by the Department of Justice threw a spotlight on the encrypted phone industry, which routes messages through its own infrastructure instead of a traditional carrier. The indictment claimed the company sold custom-encrypted phones to international drug traffickers. It also seized a number of its assets, including licenses and properties.
Phantom Secure Aficionado
According to the Department of Justice, a Phantom Secure aficionado made the requisite leap from his native Hong Kong to Bellingham, Washington, and a few short weeks later, he was in the custody of the local law enforcement. He was the first of a series of suspects to face a federal judge. Although he was unable to post bail, he pled guilty to the lesser charge of conspiring to launder money, and was sentenced to five years and six months in prison. During his time behind bars, police seized a number of drugs and other items.
In fact, this is the second time the Doj CEO Phantom has brought charges against an encrypted phone company. They’ve already slapped an indictment on Sky Global, a UK based company that claims to be the world’s largest producer of custom encrypted devices.
Doj CEO Phantom complex investigations that led to charges against Michael Ramos had many different facets. One of them involved an alien drug smuggler who was chased by Border Patrol agents. Afterwards, he abandoned the van and fled on foot toward the Mexican border.
Doj CEO Phantom involved a Black man who was killed by a police officer. After his death, a mass protest against police brutality in Austin erupted. That case was much more complex than the Ramos case. It involved evidence that should have been suppressed. But the trial court excluded expert testimony on police interrogation tactics.
Finally, there was the case of Thomas Aihama, a member of the same gang as Ramos. He testified that Ramos gave him methamphetamine. This was a fact that was later admitted by Aihama’s defense witnesses. However, the defense witnesses said that Aihama was a drug addict who lied to get a favorable deal on his own case.
In his testimony, Aihama claimed that the Integra occupants were rival gang members and that Ramos shot at the car after his friend was knocked down. Interestingly, Aihama had just been in custody on a charge of possession for sale of methamphetamine.
The Phantom Secure case is an interesting example of how organised criminal groups are adapting to modern technology. As the name suggests, Phantom was a provider of encrypted and decrypted communication devices. Its chief competitors were BlackBerry and Apple. Interestingly, the company was able to wrangle tens of millions of dollars in profits despite the fact that it had no legal title or employees. In fact, the company used a raft of shell companies to launder money and disguised its business as legitimate ventures. This was a smart move in a country where the law enforcers are notoriously stingy.
Secure & Encrypted Messaging
The company also boasted of providing a secure and encrypted messaging solution that was a boon to transnational crime. In fact, the company was able to snag the likes of the Sinaloa drug cartel, the aforementioned aforementioned booze hounds, the Hells Angels, and the likes of the latter. Amongst the many e-mails that filtered through the company’s inbox, one popped up as a “request” for a large sum of cash.
Asset Forfeiture Program
The Asset Forfeiture Program is a critical tool for disrupting illegal enterprises. As part of the DOJ’s mission to prevent and prosecute financial crimes, the program helps law enforcement agencies to use money taken from citizens to fight crime. Its main focus is the removal of key assets associated with criminal activity.
Asset forfeiture involves the seizure of a person’s assets for the monetary value of the property. This can include money, real estate, or any other asset. Before the property can be restored to its owner, it must be proven that the owner legally acquired the asset.
In the recent case of NETeller PLC, an internet payment business based in Isle of Man, felony information was filed in July 2007. The company admitted that it was involved in a conspiracy to promote internet gambling businesses. As a result, the business agreed to forfeit $136 million in illegal proceeds.
As a part of an agreement to defer prosecution, Ramos agreed to identify and identify his assets. This included $4 million in bank accounts in Singapore and international bank accounts.