Brief: Records show that from 2012 to 2016, Kuoh devised a scheme involving the purchase, shipment and export of gold and rough diamonds from Liberia. Over this period, Kouh and his associates, which sometimes included state security actors, duped investors of millions of US dollars.
- Earlier, Kuoh allegedly duped Charlotte Police Chief, Kerr Putney, and reportedly bought a house for US$450,000 in cash, purchased two vehicles and then deposited US$80,000 into a friend’s bank account.
- 2014: Kuoh was one of the two conspirators directly involved with the illegal arrest and subsequent stealing of money belonging to some Korean businessmen with the collusion of the Liberia National Security Agency (NSA).
- 2013-2016: Kuoh and associates tricked and convinced D.S. to wire transfer approximately US$3,687,030 via bank wire transfers to McDan Shipping Company Limited, one C.K. (Kuoh’s former wife), Phoenix Mining and Investment Group (owned by Kuoh), W.M., E.T.
This was not the first fraud scandal Kuoh was involved in. In August 2015, the Ministry of Information announced that Kuoh was wanted for prosecution in a US$247,500 theft involving the Liberia National Security Agency (NSA) and some Korean businessmen in 2014.
Former Vice President for Operations at the Liberia Football Association (LFA), Cassell Anthony Kuoh, has been convicted in the US after being held for over eight months on charges of defrauding investors and other dubious financial schemes. He faces up to seven years in prison.
The football executive has a history of being involved in several high-profile fraud schemes, the latest of which landed him in the grip of the United States Justice system.
Quoting the U.S. Department of Justice, the Associated Press (AP) and other US media outlets reported that Kuoh, who was sentenced in a Charlotte, North Carolina federal court to more than seven years in prison for his fraudulent business activities duping victims out of more than $9.5 million, will be deported to Liberia after serving his prison term.
Young Kuoh is also founder and president of top LFA First Division team, FC Fassel which was also caught up in fraudulent activities in the soccer game and was harshly punished by the Football Association recently. Upon his sentencing on Thursday, Kuoh was also ordered to pay $16.2 million in restitution and is subject to deportation after completing his sentence.
Records show that from 2012 to 2016, Kuoh devised a scheme involving the purchase, shipment and export of gold and rough diamonds from Liberia.
Prosecutors say Kuoh used the investors’ money to fund his personal lifestyle. In March, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. A co-defendant is also awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to wire fraud conspiracy.
An Affidavit of Complaint filed in July 2014 state that Cassell Kuoh, who also goes by the name Tim Barrol, McDan Shipping Company Ltd. and others known to the United States had been engaged in an elaborate scheme to defraud individuals of millions of dollars by falsely representing that they possessed large quantities of gold and diamonds in Liberia.
The syndicate, according to the complaint, made their victims to believe that they wanted to ship the gold and diamonds to United States for refinement and sale.
Kouh and his associates reportedly held themselves out to be various types of middlemen who had access to large quantities of gold and diamonds in Liberia.
On or about June 27, 2013, according to the complaint, a victim-investor only identified as D.S. entered into a written contract to purchase 500 kilograms of gold bars and a second contract to purchase 223 rough diamonds (approximately 7,123 carats) from one William Jackson to be identified in Monrovia. D.S. met Jackson via the business oriented social networking social networking service LinkedIn.
The complaint disclosed that that initially Jackson contacted D.S. and stated that he represented a village in Liberia that wanted to export its gold and diamonds to the United States.
Accordingly, D.S. recruited partners in the United States for the purpose of investing in the shipment of Liberian gold and diamonds. “These investors sent D.S. money which he eventually sent to the conspirators for, what he believed to be, the shipment of gold and diamonds.
Per an agreement with William Jackson, the shipment of gold and diamonds was to be managed by a ‘Tim Barrol’ (Kuoh) of McDan Shipping Company, Ltd., a shipping company located in Liberia,” the complaint stated. The complaint further indicated that Kuoh was known to D.S. as Tim Barrol.
“Photographs of Cassell Kuoh’s U.S. border crossing and U.S. visa confirmed him as the individual representing himself as Tim Barrol of McDan Shipping Company,” AP said.
As a primary component of the fraud scheme, Kuoh required several payments be made for certificate signatures and fees related to obtaining diamonds which would allow for the legal exportation and shipment of gold and diamonds from Liberia to the United States.
It is contained in the complaint that in August 2014 and August 2015, Kuoh tricked and convinced D.S. to wire transfer approximately US$3,687,030 via bank wire transfers to McDan Shipping Company Limited, one C.K. (Kuoh’s former wife), Phoenix Mining and Investment Group (owned by Kuoh), W.M., E.T.
According to the complaint, as part of the deal to convince D.S. that the deal was legitimate and the gold was real, in September 2014, Kuoh entered into the U.S. with approximately one kilogram of which, as D.S. arranged, he delivered to the refinery in Dallas, TX, which bought the gold and wired approximately US$37,761 to D.S.
However, the news of Kuoh’s arrest in the USA emerged on November 16, 2016, for what was the being reported alleged gold fraud. Upon his arrest, he was held in federal prisons in North Carolina, awaiting trial.
A Serial Fraudster
Initial information indicated that Kuoh allegedly duped Charlotte Police Chief, Kerr Putney, and reportedly bought a house for US$450,000 in cash, purchased two vehicles and then deposited US$ 80,000 into a friend’s bank account.
The LFA, at the time, admitted that they are aware of Kuoh arrest, though noted in a statement, that it was not aware of circumstances surrounding his arrest.
“The LFA is in contact with his family and will continue to provide the public with information on the reasons leading to his detention,” the statement read.
This was not the first fraud scandal to have involved Kuoh. In August 2015, the Ministry of Information announced that Kuoh was wanted for prosecution in an US$247,500 theft involving the National Security Agency (NSA) and some Korean businessmen in 2014.
However, lawyers representing Kouh threatened legal action against the ministry for the pronouncement. Then Deputy Information Minister for Public Affairs, Atty. Isaac Jackson, who made the pronouncement, said – “A finding by the Special Presidential Committee mandated to investigate accusation of money laundering, illegal arrest and conspiracy to defraud some foreign investors revealed that the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LFA first division club – Cassell FC was invloved.”
Kuoh was one of the two conspirators directly involved with the illegal arrest and subsequent stealing of the Korean businessmen money, the Minister said.
Lawyer representing Kuoh at the time, Cllr. Amara Sheriff asked the Minister to prepare himself for legal battle as he was to produce evidence that the Special Presidential Committee, headed by the then Dean and Professor of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia, Cllr. David A.B. Jallah, recommended Mr. Kuoh’s prosecution.
However, Kuoh’s alleged fraudulent activities benefited, in part, his prime investment in Liberia, FC Fassell which is one of the most attractive and somehow well paid football clubs in the country.
The team suffered a massive blow days after it was reported that the team was just few steps away from clinching its first ever championship for what some referred to as deliberately fielding illegal. As a result of this offense, an official LFA communication said that 12 points were deducted after the team failed two separate protests filed against by LISCR FC.