Michael J. Dodd, also known as “Michael Stanley,” Kenneth Ardell Landgaard, and James Robert Shipman, Jr. were arrested today on charges that they conspired to launder over two million dollars of proceeds from what they thought to be a penny stock fraud scheme. The money was, in fact, provided to the defendants by an undercover law enforcement agent who posed as a criminal stock promoter as part of a sting operation. Defendants Landgaard and Shipman were arrested after flying to an airport in New York on a private jet to take possession of $2,200,000 in cash they had agreed to launder through banks in Panama and Belize. The defendants had already laundered $400,000 in cash previously provided by the undercover agent. Dodd was arrested a few hours later at a Manhattan restaurant where he expected to meet with the undercover agent….
According to the complaint unsealed this afternoon and other documents filed in the Eastern District of New York, the defendants used private jets and off-shore bank accounts in Panama to launder cash for an undercover FBI agent who posed as a corrupt stock promoter. In his dealings with the defendants, the undercover agent represented himself to be a middleman working with corrupt stock brokers who artificially inflated prices for worthless stock in exchange for high commissions. In exchange for a 13% to 15% fee, the defendants agreed to launder $2,600,000. Immediately prior to their arrest earlier today, Landgaard and Shipman accepted $2,200,000 from the undercover agent, which they believed to be proceeds from the penny stock fraud. In conversations which were recorded by the FBI, the defendants explained in detail the measures they took to avoid detection of their money laundering scheme by law enforcement. Dodd insisted that the undercover agent download and use encryption software for online chats and voice communications. Landgaard insisted that the cash be provided in expensive Louis Vuitton duffel bags, and Shipman explained their reasoning: “You know why they do that? Because cops can’t get the authority to buy a Louis Vuitton bag, it’s too expensive … they can’t get the authorization to buy a Louis Vuitton bag. And if you think about it, it’s very smart.” Landgaard and Shipman also insisted that the undercover agent buy a “throwaway” or “burner” phone on which to speak to them about the scheme.