A Turkish businessman was arrested in Austria on June 19, at the request of the US Department of Justice. The arrest follows a replacement indictment issued by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City, Utah on April 28, which was unsealed today. The indictment replacing Sezgin Baran Korkmaz has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, 10 counts of wire fraud and one count of obstructing formal proceedings.
According to the previous indictment, Korkmaz laundered more than $ 133 million in fraud proceeds through bank accounts he controlled in Turkey and Luxembourg. The proceeds have reportedly been linked to a scheme by Jacob Kingston, Isaiah Kingston and Levon Termendzhyan to defraud the U.S. Treasury by filing false returns for more than $ 1 billion in refundable renewable fuel tax credits for production and sale of biodiesel by their company, Washakie Renewable Energy LLC, in Plymouth, Utah.
Korkmaz and his accomplices allegedly used the proceeds of the fraud to acquire Turkish airline Borajet, hotels in Turkey and Switzerland, a yacht named Queen Anne, and a villa and apartment on the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul.
The indictment further charges Korkmaz with 10 counts of wire fraud. As alleged, Korkmaz devised a scheme to defraud Jacob Kingston and Isaiah Kingston by falsely stating that he could provide them with protection, through anonymous government officials, from a federal grand jury investigation and civil lawsuits.
The United States will seek to extradite Korkmaz to the United States so that he can appear before U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish of the Utah District to face these charges. If convicted, Korkmaz faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the money laundering conspiracy, 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud and five years in prison for the count of obstruction. Justice Parrish will determine any sentence after considering the US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Deputy Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Department of Justice’s Taxation Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Andrea T. Martinez for the District of Utah made the announcement.
The IRS Criminal Investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigations Division and the DCIS Department of Defense are investigating the case. The Office of International Affairs of the Ministry of Justice provides important assistance.
Trial lawyers Richard Rolwing and Arthur Ewenczyk, and senior litigation counsel John Sullivan of the Department of Justice’s tax division are continuing the case.
An indictment is only an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.