A federal judge in Boston may give $1.5 million back to a convicted criminal to put in his foreign bank account, even though the man has been indicted for obtaining the money by defrauding thousands of unsuspecting investors.
In this latest twist in the saga of Alan Abrahams, also known as James Carr. U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro has asked government attorneys why he should not send the money back to Bermuda, since it was he, the judge, who talked Abrahams into bringing the money back to the United States in the first place.
Judge Tauro said he may have acted improperly in promising Abrahams that if he bring the money back, the Judge would allow certain payments for Carr's legal fees and family support to be made from the funds.
Abrahams has been charged with masterminding a $27 million commodities swindle through offices in 11 cities across the country for more than a year. A celebrated con-man with a history of jumping bail and escaping from prison. Abrahams was running a commodities option firm called Lloyd, Carr & Co. from its headquarters in Boston when he was arrested and charged with 50 counts of fraud and violations of the Commodities Exchange Act.
After he jumped bail in Boston, Abrahams was arrested at a $100-dollar-a-day resort in Florida where he was hiding with his family.
But by the time he was apprehended. Abrahams had transfered an estimated $5 million to $8 million into banks outside the scrutiny of U.S. authorities.
The court appointed a receiver in Boston to deal with creditors ranging from investors who were allegedly ripped off in the deal to the telephone company, which claims to be owed half a million dollars from Carr's various offices.
In order to get at least some of the money back into the country to help the receiver determine who has valid claims on the money Judge Tauro asked Abrahams to voluntarily bring back an estimated $1.5 million that was in Bermuda.
Abrahams agreed to do so only after Tauro promised to entertain motions from Abrahams to use some of the money for the living expenses of his two children and for Abraham's own attorneys fees.
"Mr. Abrahams did not easily hand over this million and a half dollars," said Judge Tauro in proceedings concerning the fate of the money. "And I would state for the record that the only reason that he handed over the million and a half dollars was the persuasion of this court, this judge."
Then the judge said that he told Abrahams that if the returned the money "I would entertain his application for attorney's fees, and I would entertain his application for maintenance and support of his real estate in Marblehead (Mass.) . . . and some support for his immediate family."
In fact, Judge Tauro has authorized more than $700 dollars a month in payments to allow Abrahams' two teenage daughters to live in his oceanside home, estimated to be worth $40,000 has been paid out of the funds tenance man. In addition, more than $30,000 has been paid out of the funds to attorneys working directly on Abrahams case.
But another judge working on a related case has warned Abrahams that the money he has collected in the course of business may be allowed to be used for his defense.
"People must not be permitted to harhams in a Michigan court hat "People must not be permitted to harvest the fruits from frauds," and said the money earned by Lloyd Carr many be placed in a trust for the victims of the alleged fraud.
In Michigan, Abrahams pleaded guilty to contempt of court charges in connection with his unwillingness to allow federal investigators to look at his company's books.
In addition, the court appointed receiver in Boston has informed Judge Tauro of nearly $900,000 that had already been paid by Abrahams to several attorneys, and asked the Judge to return some or all of the funds to the general fund. Further, several more attorneys have filed actions for over $100,000 claiming Abrahams has authorized for them to help his case.
The creditors and the U.S. attorney have told Judge Tauro that the money probably doesn't belong to Abrahams, anyway and should be kept in the U.S. for eventual disbursement to the victims of the alleged seam.
But Judge Tauro now believes he may have made a mistake in making a deal with Abrahams in the first place. "Now if I made a mistake," Judge Tauro said in court, "if I was in error in thinking that I had authority to approve such a settlement agreement, then perhaps it would be equitable for the million and a half dollars to go back to Bermuda . . ."
Those words have upset both the receiver and the U.S. attorney for fear the money will once again be placed out of their reach.
Of the estimated $27 million collected by Lloyd, Carr & Co. sources close to the case say somewhere between $5 million and $8 million is left.
About $2 million is in Swiss banks, another $500,000 sits in Bermuda banks, $2.5 million in U.S. banks, and another $5 million in assets is scattered among properties across the country, the sources said.
In addition, the receiver has earned an estimated $700,000 in gold options purchased by Abrahams but never exercised because of his arrest.
And the U.S. attorney disputes the court's contention that Abrahams was promised payments if he brought the money back. He claims that Abrahams was only told his motions for legal expenses would be "entertained," and not necessarily granted.
But Judge Tauro believes he made a more definite deal, and now may just give the money back to avoid sticky legal questions as to his authority.
"When a man, based on assurances of a federal judge, parts with a million and a half dollars, I think that he ought to have the right to rely on those assurances," Judge Tauro said in court.