BULLETIN: Feds Say Carlos Wanzeler Left U.S. For Canada On Same Day Homeland Security Raided TelexFree Offices; Alleged Fugitive Then Flew To Brazil On Date His Home Was Raided; Wanzeler’s Wife Arrested As Material Witness After Telling Agents Husband Was Staying In Hotel
(10th Update 10:53 p.m. EDT U.S.A.) Federal agents arrested Massachusetts resident Katia Wanzeler at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York yesterday after “someone in Brazil” purchased her a “one-way ticket” two days ago and paid cash, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security alleges in an affidavit.
Katia, the wife of alleged TelexFree fugitive Carlos Wanzeler, was arrested as a material witness. She was born in 1965, according to the affidavit.
Late in the evening of April 15 — the same day federal agents raided TelexFree headquarters in Marlborough, Mass. — Carlos Wanzeler and his daughter Lyvia “drove to the US/Canada border crossing at Lacolle, PQ (Provence de Quebec) in a BMW,” according to the affidavit.
The vehicle bore Massachusetts plates registered to Acceris Realty Estate LLC, a company for which Katia Wanzeler is the registered agent, according to the affidavit.
Two days later — on April 17, the same day federal agents raided the Wanzeler home in Northborough, Mass. — Carlos Wanzeler and his daughter “boarded Air Canada flight number 90 From Toronto to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Carlos Wanzeler entered Brazil using his Brazilian passport,” according to the affidavit.
On April 26, according to the affidavit, Lyvia flew back to the United States from Brazil on a round-trip ticket paid for with her father’s frequent-flyer miles. But on May 1, according to the affidavit, Lyvia left the United States, flying from Boston to Italy.
Prior to the April 15 and April 17 raids, according to the affidavit, “Katia Wanzeler traveled with James Merrill to retrieve over $27 million dollars in ca[s]hiers checks from a Wells Fargo bank in Connecticut. The majority of the checks were payable to TelexFree entities but one of the checks, in the amount of $2,000,634.76, was payable to ‘Katia B Wanzeler.'”
James Merrill is Carlos Wanzeler’s co-defendant in a criminal case filed last week that alleges wire-fraud conspiracy. The travel by Katia Wanzeler with James Merrill occurred on April 11, according to the affidavit.
When agents raided the Wanzeler home on April 17, according to the affidavit, Katia Wanzeler “informed agents that her husband had been staying in a hotel ‘on the advice of counsel.’ In reality Carlos Wanzeler had fled the country after driving into Canada and then flying to Brazil . . .”
The affidavit also notes that Carlos Wanzeler and James Merrill are under investigation for crimes beyond wire fraud, including securities fraud and money laundering.
Katia Wanzeler is a material witness, according to the affidavit, because “significant sums of money were moved from TelexFree bank accounts into a Wells Fargo account in the name of Katia Wanzeler.
“On February 28, 2014,” the affidavit continues, “two transfers from TelexFree account XXXX8498 at Wells Fargo were initiated into Katia Wanzeler’s Wells Fargo account XXXX3716, one in the amount of $1,000,000 and another in the amount of $2,500,000. Subsequently, $1,500,000 of those funds were transferred into a Wells Fargo brokerage account in the name Katia Wanzeler.”
TelexFree declared bankruptcy late on the evening of April 13, a Sunday. Two days after that, according to the affidavit, Carlos Wanzeler entered Canada at 11 p.m. And two days after that — on April 17 — he was on a plane for Brazil.
On May 13, someone in Brazil paid cash to buy Katia Wanzeler a one-way ticket to Brazil, according to the affidavit.