Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cocaine Money-Launderer Gets 1 Day in Jail

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cocaine Money-Launderer Gets 1 Day in Jail

Article excerpt

A Maryland man who laundered money for the supplier of the Pittsburgh region's largest cocaine ring but cooperated with authorities in a complex investigation will spend a day in jail and a year on home confinement.

U.S. District Judge David Cercone on Thursday ordered Howard Weinberg, 67, owner of a lighting company near Baltimore and a leader in the Jewish community there, to spend a day in the custody of federal marshals in Pittsburgh before he can go home to Maryland.

Weinberg also helped authorities investigate a bribery scheme involving Google and a wealthy Dutch businessman.

Weinberg and his lawyer declined to comment after the hearing, as did the U.S. attorney's office.

Weinberg cooperated with Pittsburgh IRS agents, U.S. Homeland Security and Dutch authorities investigating Rudy Stroink, one of the richest men in the Netherlands, and Simon Tusha, a former Google executive in Maryland.

Mr. Stroink, former head of TCN Group and something of a tech media star in his home country, is accused of paying 1.7 million euros to Mr. Tusha, who was in charge of setting up Google data centers around the world.

Mr. Stroink paid the bribes from 2008 to 2010 in an effort to secure a Google center in the Dutch city of Eindhoven, according to investigators.

Mr. Tusha pleaded guilty in Pittsburgh in 2016 to accepting the bribes and is also cooperating against Mr. Stroink.

He admitted that he received some $3.2 million from TCN and another company in the United Kingdom, Evolved IT, that was negotiating contracts for data centers and hid the money in a series of shell corporations.

The bribe money ended up in Mr. Tusha's PNC account in Pittsburgh.

Weinberg's role, according to court records, was to set up bank accounts for Mr. Tusha's companies for a share of the money.

At Mr. Tusha's plea hearing in May 2016, assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Wilson said Weinberg set up a company, M.V. Business in Dominica, and wired $300,000 from its Bank of America account to Mr. Tusha's PNC account in Pittsburgh. Weinberg later transferred another $315,000 from MV's Bank of Bermuda account to the PNC account, Mr. Wilson said.

He said the shell companies were established to disguise the source of money flowing into Mr. …

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