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Local law agencies get millions in IRS asset-forfeitures

The Internal Revenue Service Wednesday presented a pair of San Diego-area law enforcement agencies with checks totaling $26.7 million as a result of a settlement resulting from an international bank's admission of guilt to charges of defrauding the U.S. government.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — The Internal Revenue Service Wednesday presented a pair of San Diego-area law enforcement agencies with checks totaling $26.7 million as a result of a settlement resulting from an international bank’s admission of guilt to charges of defrauding the U.S. government.

The IRS’s criminal division disbursed the funds during an afternoon ceremony at Chula Vista police headquarters.

Of a total of $119 million in forfeitures to the IRS from a California subsidiary of Netherlands-based Rabobank, $20.8 million went to the San Diego Police Department, earmarked for training, technology and equipment to enhance officer safety.

The Chula Vista Police Department, for its part, received $5.9 million for equipment, infrastructure and technology.

In addition, the California Franchise Tax Board, like the SDPD, got a $20.8 million allocation.

IRS Criminal Investigation’s portion of the funds will be deposited with the Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture, which funds programs aimed at disrupting and dismantling criminal enterprises, officials said.

In May, a federal judge ordered Rabobank National Association of Roseville to pay a statutory fine of $500,000 and to forfeit $368,701,259 for conspiring to obstruct its primary regulator, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, by concealing deficiencies in its anti-money-laundering program.

The bank admitted that some of its customer accounts were involved in suspicious dealings along the Southwest border, included high-volume cash deposits and withdrawals, check transactions, electronic transfers and wire transfers consistent with such illegal activity as trade-based money laundering, bulk cash smuggling, structuring and black-market peso exchanges.

“This case is a great example of the results that can be achieved when federal, state and local law enforcement agencies come together to impact violations of the Bank Secrecy Act,” said Maura Krajewski, assistant special agent in charge of IRS Criminal Investigation.

San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit noted that his agency and the local community at large “directly benefit” from such funding sources.

“It provides financial resources to law enforcement to purchase equipment, training and technology,” he said. “Asset forfeiture is a useful tool for law enforcement because it deprives criminals of the funding and the tools they need to commit crimes, and it is the equitable sharing of these forfeited funds that allows law enforcement agencies to participate in joint task forces, which are used to detect and deter serious criminal activity and terrorism throughout the county.”

Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy said her city, “like all communities … has been impacted by organized crime.”

“(The) Chula Vista Police Department is proud of our continued partnership with the Internal Revenue Service in support of and in furtherance of preventing financial crimes that affect our neighborhoods,” Kennedy said.

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