Elections
President Barack Obama speaks about the Buffett Rule, Wednesday, April 11, 2012, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) President Barack Obama speaks about the Buffett Rule, Wednesday, April 11, 2012, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)  

Obama bundler helps convicted, alleged financial criminals secure Virgin Islands tax breaks

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

A major campaign “bundler” for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has helped convicted and alleged financial criminals navigate offshore tax loopholes in the U.S. Virgin Islands, The Daily Caller has learned.

Marjorie Rawls Roberts, who has pledged to raise between $100,000 and $200,000 for President Obama’s 2012 campaign, has faced heat in recent months after news reports confirmed that she helps her wealthy clients navigate the kinds of offshore tax benefits the president has publicly criticized. And now The Daily Caller has learned exactly who some of those wealthy clients are.

Roberts helped recently convicted $7 billion ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford with his application for tax benefits from the U.S. Virgin Islands Economic Development Corporation. Those benefits permit recipients to avoid paying some — or all — of their taxes, as long as they live in the U.S. territory for the majority of a given tax year and fulfill certain financial and development obligations to the local economy.

The Virgin Islands Daily News reported that Stanford applied for those tax breaks in 2006, and that the territory’s current governor, Democrat John de Jongh, approved the application after taking office in 2007.

Stanford, who was convicted of defrauding 30,000 of his investors with bogus investments in his Antiguan bank while living a lavish lifestyle from the spoils of his scheme, owes hundreds of millions in back taxes. In early 2009, the Associated Press reported that the federal government placed four tax liens against Stanford, totaling about $212 million, between 2007 and 2008.

Attorney General Eric Holder praised Stanford’s conviction during a March 2012 Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. “Just this week, we secured a conviction against the former board of directors’ chairman for an international bank [Stanford Financial Group], orchestrating a $7 billion investment fraud scheme,” Holder said in his testimony.

Even so, the Obama re-election campaign continues to accept bundled donations from the tax attorney who helped Stanford navigate the Virgin Islands’ tax loopholes.

Campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt did not answer The Daily Caller’s requests for comment on the matter.

Roberts also did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

In addition to helping wealthy clients navigate tax loopholes in the Virgin Islands, Roberts has been a major financial supporter of New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel. Rangel has fought to ease IRS tax pressures on Americans in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In November 2007, The New York Times reported that several of Roberts’ clients would financially benefit from a Rangel proposal — since failed — that would have limited the U.S. tax agency’s authority to investigate and audit potential tax criminals enrolled in the U.S. Virgin Islands EDC program.