Miami Beach

FBI arrests 8, accusing them of hiding cars, a boat and cash before bankruptcy

Yechezkel and Tamar Nissenbaum are led out of their Miami Beach home by FBI agents after a raid Tuesday, May 17, 2016, in Miami Beach. Federal agents say the couple liquidated a certificate of deposit worth $141,000 in 2010, and then filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy the following year, without disclosing to the Miami bankruptcy court the liquidation.
Yechezkel and Tamar Nissenbaum are led out of their Miami Beach home by FBI agents after a raid Tuesday, May 17, 2016, in Miami Beach. Federal agents say the couple liquidated a certificate of deposit worth $141,000 in 2010, and then filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy the following year, without disclosing to the Miami bankruptcy court the liquidation. Courtesy of CBS4

The FBI arrested eight people Tuesday, charging them with allegedly concealing more than $3 million in assets from federal bankruptcy court in Miami.

The five cases allege the eight people hid assets or illegally transferred them out of their name before filing Chapter 7 bankruptcies. In so doing, the indictment alleges, they shielded assets from creditors and avoided repaying outstanding debts.

Neighbors of Yechezkel, 39, and Tamar Nissenbaum, 35, couldn’t believe a small army of FBI agents arrived at their high-rise condo building at 4101 Pine Tree Dr. in Miami Beach early Tuesday morning. Agents walked out them out, through the lobby, in handcuffs.

“It comes as a huge shock when someone who’s cared about, who’s a member of the community, gets taken into custody like that,” neighbor Alex Strassman told Miami Herald news partner CBS4.

According to allegations in the indictment, the couple liquidated a certificate of deposit worth approximately $141,829 in 2010, and then filed a joint petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2011. When asked about the accuracy of her disclosures in the bankruptcy petition, Yachezkel Nissenbaum “made false representations,’’ according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The couple has three young daughters who are now in the care of the Department of Children and Families.

“Great family, see them around the building all the time. Total shock,” Strassman said.

Among the others arrested:

▪ Walter Lista, 43, of Pinecrest. According to the allegations in the indictment, Lista transferred and concealed a Jeep Wrangler, a 34-foot boat, The Isabella, approximately $41,200 in cash and his interest and roles in companies he owned. The indictment alleges Lista failed to disclose the transfer of these assets, valued at more than $160,000, when he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on May 30, 2013.

▪ Rolando Garcia, 52, and Aileen Crespo, 43, of Miami. According to allegations in the indictment, they transferred assets held jointly to Crespo in a divorce settlement, before filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Among the assets allegedly concealed: properties in North Carolina, valued at $336,300; $36,000 in cash used to buy a Jaguar valued at approximately $80,000; and $100,257 in cash from the sale of a condo in the Bahamas.

▪ Rebecca Solemani-Appelbaum, 50, of Boca Raton, who is accused of liquidating approximately $102,445 from her IRA account and transferring the money into a family member’s account, according to the indictment’s allegations. She is accused of not disclosing this transfer in her bankruptcy petition and various amended filings.

▪  Gregory Lee Cutuli, 65, and Kathleen Anne Smith Cutuli, 65, both of Plant City, who are accused of transferring Kathleen’s $1.8 million federal income tax refund to Gregory and concealing the transfer in their Chapter 7 filing in Miami bankruptcy court, according to the indictment’s allegations. The indictment alleges Kathleen declared bankruptcy to avoid paying money to her former business partner. Investigators said the couple also failed to disclose furs, jewelry, household goods and cash.

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