Secret Service, FBI, IRS Raid Steve Renner’s INetGlobal Operations In Minneapolis; Scene Resembled AdSurfDaily Raid In Florida
UPDATED 10:40 A.M. ET (U.S.A.) Federal and state agents have raided the Minneapolis offices of Inter-Mark Corp., seeking evidence of a Ponzi scheme, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis/St. Paul is reporting.
Inter-Mark Corp. is operated by Steve Renner, who also operates a purported “advertising” service known as INetGlobal.Â In a scene that resembled the August 2008 raid at the headquarters of Florida-based AdSurfDaily, agents in Minnesota were seen carting boxes of documents and computers.
ASD was implicated in a $100 million Ponzi scheme.
Renner has been under investigation for at least 17 months and likely longer. He was indicted on charges of tax evasion in September 2008, about a month after the ASD raid. He was convicted in December 2009 of evading more than $332,000 in taxes between 2002 and 2005.
Renner, 54, “diverted substantial funds from his business, Cash Cards International (CCI), between 2002 and 2005 to pay his personal living expenses as well as to make personal investments in coins, oil wells, art, stamps, and vintage musical instruments,” prosecutors said in December.
He also used CCI funds to promote his musical band, â€œStevie Renner and the Renegades,â€ prosecutors said.
“From 2001 to 2006, Renner owned CCI, an Internet-based stored-value card and money
transmission business, with locations in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Hawaii,” prosecutors said. “Although he was legally obligated to file federal income tax returns and pay all federal taxes owed, he failed to file his income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service for tax years 2002 through 2004 until March 5, 2006, the date on which he also filed his 2005 federal income tax return.”
â€œTax evasion is not a victimless crime,â€ said Julio La Rosa of the IRS, upon Renner’s conviction.
â€œHonest, hardworking taxpayers pay the price when others choose to evade their tax obligations,” La Rosa said. “As this verdict shows, those that cheat will get caught.â€
Renner faces up to 20 years in federal prison in the tax case.
Renner also is associated with a domain known as AdPacs.com, which is throwing a server error. It is believed that AdPacs promoters also promoted the AdViewGlobal (AVG) autosurf, which had close ties to ASD.
As was the case with the ASD raid in Florida, local media caught the events at Renner’s office yesterday on video. Minnesota has been plagued by Ponzi schemes. Some ASD members from Minnesota have been among the loudest advocates for ASD President Andy Bowdoin.
The Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force assisted in the raid.
Earlier this month, the Secret Service announced the formation of an Electronic Crimes Task Force (ECTF) based in Memphis. The agency also has ECTFs in St. Louis, Kansas City, New Orleans and Europe.
â€œOne of the top priorities for the Secret Service continues to be combating the computer
related crimes perpetrated by domestic and international criminals that target the U.S.
financial infrastructure,â€ said Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan.
â€œThe Secret Service, in conjunction with its many law enforcement partners across the United States and around the world, continues to successfully combat these crimes by working closely with experts from all affected sectors to constantly refresh and adapt our investigative methodologies.â€
Read the Star-Tribune’s coverage of the Steve Renner raid.