SCARSDALE, N.Y. Attorney Marc E. Verzani of Scarsdale has been charged with conspiracy to violate the Trading with the Enemy Act, witness tampering and obstruction of justice in connection with a trip he allegedly made to Cuba in September. Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James T. Hayes Jr., of Homeland Security announced the indictment of Friday.
Also charged with violating the Trading with the Enemy Act and witness tampering was Adem Arici, a Verzani client, according to the press release. Both men were arrested Thursday, Dec. 1 Verzani at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens and Arici in Englewood, N.J.
According to a press release announcing the indictment, Verzani and a third party, identifield as "CW" for "cooperating witness, flew to Cuba from Cancun, Mexico, to consider purchasing real estate. Verzani allegedly paid for the plane tickets by wire transfer to a Mexican travel agent, then exchanged U.S. dollars for Cuban currency upon arriving in Havana. Arici, who is alleged to have invested heavily in Cuban real estate, met the men in Havana, according to the press release, to show them property, which they decided not to buy. The men are alleged to have spent money on food, drinks, transportation, entertainment and personal services, all in violation of U.S. law, according to court documents.
According to the press release, the men, in several secretly recorded conversations, conspired to "conceal from and lie to federal agents about their trip to Cuba."
Verzani, whose law practice is located on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, could not be reached for comment.
The conspiracy to violate the Trading with the Enemy Act carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss derived from the crime. The witness tampering charge carrries a maximum 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss derived from the crime. The obstruction of justice charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and the same fine structure.
The case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cynthia K. Dunne and Perry A. Carbone in the U.S. Attorney's Office White Plains division.
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