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Feds seizing south Florida condo in $1B money laundering case

The U.S. Federal government is seeking to seize the "Porsche Design Tower," a condominium in Sunny Isle Beach, that's been embroiled in a billion-dollar Venezuelan money laundering scandal. According to federal prosecutors, the real estate project has played a pivotal role in a massive scheme to siphon money from Venezuela's government-run oil enterprise, PDVSA, and launder it through fraudulent Miami-area real estate investments.

At least one of these questionable deals involved the purchase of a unit in the Porsche Design Tower. The $5.3 million suite is one of 132 units in the 60-story luxury condominium which features, among its many amenities, a patented vehicular elevator that permits residents to ride with their vehicles up to their sky-high residences. The purchaser of the unit was Paladium Real Estate Group, LLC. The original manager of this LLC was the wife of the ex-legal counsel for the Venezuelan Ministry of Oil and Mining.

A host of alleged conspirators have been involved in shady real estate dealings, many of whom include ex-officials from the PDVSA and other members of Venezuela's wealthy class called the "boliburgues." Federal prosecutors claim that the conspirators planned to transfer ownership of the condo unit to the alleged Venezuelan money launderer, Jose Vincente Amparan Croquer, to pay for his services. In fact, the wife of Amparan was contracted as manager of the condo owner, Paladium LLC, which left Amparan and his wife in complete control of the condominium. According to the Miami Herald, Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro is also being investigated for his participation in the money laundering scheme.

When the federal government seizes real estate property via a notice of lis pendens, as it's trying to do in this case, the property becomes impossible to sell until the case has been resolved. If you are the owner of seized real estate property or property that could be seized by the federal government, it's vital that you understand your legal rights and options as you try to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

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