Lawyer gets three-year sentence for money laundering

In the recordings, Mr. Rosenfeld boasted that he had been "cleaning money" for more than a decade and said he had been operating offshore bank accounts for 24 years. He also talked about lying under oath and his connections to organized crime.

The Globe and Mail
March 31, 2005

Lawyer gets three-year sentence for money laundering
Paul Waldie

Toronto lawyer Simon Rosenfeld received a three-year prison sentence for money laundering yesterday, less than half what Crown prosecutors were seeking.

"I leave it up to you to determine what message that sends," Crown attorney Rosemary Warren said briskly after the sentence was handed down by Madam Justice Tamarin Dunnet of the Ontario Superior Court.

Ms. Warren had been seeking a prison term of up to seven years for Mr. Rosenfeld. During a sentencing hearing earlier this month, she argued that lawyers are becoming key players in money-laundering transactions and a stiff jail term would act as a deterrent.

She pointed to several cases in the United States and elsewhere where money launderers had received more than 10 years in jail.

In announcing the sentence yesterday, Judge Dunnet acknowledged the seriousness of Mr. Rosenfeld's case and the importance of cracking down on money laundering. However, she said she was bound by Canadian rulings in other money-laundering convictions for sentencing. Under those guidelines, a sentence of three years was appropriate, she said.

She also fined Mr. Rosenfeld $43,230, representing the commission he made on two money-laundering deals totalling about $500,000. Steve Skurka, a Toronto lawyer representing Mr. Rosenfeld, said the conviction will be appealed and that he will apply to have Mr. Rosenfeld released on bail pending the appeal.

Mr. Rosenfeld was one of about 55 Canadian and U.S. citizens arrested in 2002 in an RCMP-FBI sting called Bermuda Short, which exposed stock market manipulation and money-laundering scams.

During Mr. Rosenfeld's trial, members of the jury watched hours of secretly recorded meetings between Mr. Rosenfeld and RCMP Inspector Bill Majcher, who was posing as a member of a Colombian drug cartel that had millions of dollars in cash it needed to invest to disguise its criminal origin.

In the recordings, Mr. Rosenfeld boasted that he had been "cleaning money" for more than a decade and said he had been operating offshore bank accounts for 24 years. He also talked about lying under oath and his connections to organized crime.

Court filings show Mr. Rosenfeld claimed to earn up to $3-million annually but reported just $25,000 a year for taxes. He had a $2-million mansion in Toronto and an art collection worth about $750,000.

Mr. Rosenfeld filed for personal bankruptcy shortly after being arrested and his largest creditor was the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which has a $2.8-million (U.S.) judgment against him dating back to 2001.


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