An inherited six-figure bank account first led to international intrigue and then to possible prison time for a pediatric ear-nose-and-throat doctor in Northern Virginia.
According to a Justice Department news release , Leesburg otolaryngologist Andrew Silva has acknowledged more than a decade of deception in hiding money from a Swiss bank account he inherited from his mother.
Two years after he became the owner of the undeclared foreign bank account, Silva allegedly met with a lawyer in Zurich who told him to keep mum about the account, to keep no records, and to use coded messages if he wanted further meetings.
What could go wrong? Apparently nothing, until U.S. pressure brought an end to the fabled secrecy of Swiss banking practices in 2009. The bank told Silva he would have to come get his money.
The government claims Silva took possession of two “bricks” of $100,000 each in sequentially numbered $100 bills, plus another $35,000. The doctor allegedly mailed the loot home in 26 separate packages, with the help of the Swiss attorney. As reported by The New York Times, the case reveals the bank’s efforts to avoid U.S. scrutiny of its operations.
Unsurprisingly, Silva omitted any mention of the funds in his communications with the government over the years.
The feds aren’t saying how they caught on, but they apparently snagged a bunch of those packages. As part of a plea deal, Silva has agreed to forfeit $211,000 seized by the government.
Sentencing is scheduled in May.
By Peter Vieth