A convicted money launder, who has published a number of inaccurate articles on Dominica’s Citizenship By Investment program, is being sued for “his malicious and relentless campaign of fake news” against a US company.
In the complaint filed against disbarred attorney Kenneth Rijock in the district court of Florida, Northland Wealth Management Inc. claims that Rijock wrote more than forty (40) separate false and defamatory blog postings in a concentrated effort to destroy their respected financial planning and wealth management company.
Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan told Dominica Vibes on Wednesday 19 April 2017, that this complaint filed in March 2017, is one of a number of libel cases filed against Rijock “accusing him of dishonesty, of lying, of being a smear artist, and as being part of some conspiracy to destabilize legitimate businesses in exchange for money”.
Astaphan indicated that he has several other court documents pertaining to Rijock, apart from his conviction records, indicating civil judgements against him for ordinary debts, civil proceedings and counterclaims.
According to the claim filed, Rijock spent most of the 1980s working as the middle man between the Columbians and the Mafia flooding America’s streets with cocaine and marijuana.
As part of this enterprise, Rijock would personally shuttle hundreds of thousands of dollars in suitcases during weekly private jet trips every Friday to and from tax havens in the Caribbean.
After using his legal and financial background to advise criminals on how to “clean” more than two hundred million dollars in cash, Rijock was arrested and charged with racketeering and conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.
He was sentenced to four years in federal prison for his crimes and later wrote a book about his experiences, entitled ‘The Laundry Man’, in which he bragged that he was one of the world’s biggest money launderers.
Astaphan said Rijock is described by some attorneys in Southern Florida that he has spoken to, as “a well-known con artist and smear artist that will do anything for money”.
He said the “shocking thing” about this is that “the Lennox Lintons, the Thomson Fontaines, the Gabriel Christians of this world, the Clayton Shillingfords of this world, without any due diligence and knowledge or the background of this guy, embraced him as a prophet and an apostle of the UWP’s so-called movement”.
However, Astaphan continued, the claim filed and other court documents “merely expose him for what he is, a fraud, which is what we have been saying for the longest while”.
Northland Wealth Management Inc. has demanded a jury trial and that the court grants judgment to Adjudging and decreeing that Defendant has impermissibly and falsely defamed them and has tortiously interfered with their business relationships; Permanently enjoining and restraining Defendant from further violations of Plaintiffs’ rights; Award damages, including without limitation, damages in excess of $15,000,000; Requiring Defendant to account to Plaintiffs for any and all profits derived from the violation of their rights; Requiring Defendant to disgorge to Plaintiffs any and all profits derived from the violation of their rights; Awarding Plaintiffs punitive damages, in an amount to be determined at trial; Granting Plaintiffs their costs and disbursements of this action, including reasonable attorneys’ fees; Awarding Plaintiffs pre-judgment and post-judgment interest on each and every damage award; and Granting such other, further, or different relief as the Court deems just and proper.
Senior Counsel Astaphan explained that it is also possible that similar action could be taken against Rijock for the blogs he published about the Prime Minister of Dominica and others who were defamed.
He informed that Rijock tried a similar campaign against Range Developers Limited and was forced to apologize and retract. Range Developers Limited is an international company which is constructing the Kempinski resort at Portsmouth.
“I think any individual Prime Minister, or politician, or individual, who was libeled by Rijock could sue. I don’t think the country of Dominica could sue, but I think individuals could,” the Senior Counsel explained.
That notwithstanding, Astaphan is of the view that “everybody has realized that Rijock is just a con artist” and that “the worst of Rijock has gone [as he] was exposed early o’clock, I think the vast majority of Dominicans accept that”.
He said Australian Gregory Copley, Editor-in-Chief of Defense & Foreign Affairs publications, and the Global Information System (GIS), “has disappeared from the face of Dominica’s landscape, because I think he realized that he was being coned with information that was false”.