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PANAMA PAPERS – Subpoena Issued to Mossack Fonseca Regarding Daddy Yankee Assets

Miami Attorneys Issued a Subpoena to Mossack Fonseca, of the Panama Papers, regarding Daddy Yankee Assetsassouliene-vielleville-berlowe-2
4/12/16- Eric Assouline, Daniel Vielleville, and Peter Berlowe, with ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A., Miami – Picture from Daily Business Review Article 4-14-2016 By AM Holt

 Keeping the whereabouts of your assets is ok, except when . . .

This is a burning question that has surfaced in light of the Panama Papers.  When is it ok to have off shore accounts?  The simple answer is when you do not owe anyone any money and after you have paid all the taxes that are due on the assets that you wish to keep secret.   See recent article by Real Estate and Corporate Law Partner David Blattner: Have the Panama Papers Taught Us Anything We Didn’t Already Know?

You cannot maintain a secret web of companies, with the intention of hiding this information from creditors to whom you owe money.  That is illegal.

You cannot transfer assets that would be subject to execution by a creditor to an off shore, or out of state company, in order to not pay debts that you owe.  That is illegal.

This is the basis of the investigation that has been opened up as to all the public figures mentioned in the Panama Papers.  Including noted celebrity Daddy Yankee.

In today’s Daily Business Review, South Florida’s prominent daily business paper, one of the headline stories regards Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.’s subpoena issued to Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm that has gained notoriety for opening off shore accounts for high profile individuals all over the world.

Through their subpoena, Assouline & Berlowe, on behalf of their clients, creditors of Daddy Yankee, are seeking financial information from Mossack Fonseca as to Daddy Yankee’s assets and financial affairs.

A link to the complete article is: http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/home/id=1202754983211/Panama-Papers-Reports-Show-Daddy-Yankee-Might-Have-a-Way-to-Pay-Millions-Owed?mcode=1202617073880&curindex=2

For more information regarding this case, please contact Daniel E. Vielleville, Peter E. Berlowe, or Eric N. Assouline.

assouliene-vielleville-berlowe-2

/12/16- Eric Assouline, Daniel Vielleville, and Peter Berlowe, with ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A., Miami – Photo by Daily Business Review Photographer AM Holt 

 

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Wouldn’t You Want Benefits Paid in U.S. dollars?

Assouline & Berlowe

Attorneys Peter Berlowe, Daniel Vielleville, and Cristina Vicens successfully defended a motion dismiss brought by Cargill, Inc. regarding Cargill’s payment of Adela Ortega’s employment benefits .  Ortega, a 19 year employee of Cargill, was primed to be a top executive after her assignment in the United States.  After her position was terminated, Ortega sought benefits due to her as severance.  Cargill wanted to pay Ortega based in Venezuelan bolivars while Ortega wanted be paid in U.S. dollars, a major difference in value.

In a recent article in the Daily Business Review (click here for the article), Peter Berlowe stated:  “We’re very happy we survived the motion to dismiss, because it shows that this case is not about politics or international law.  It’s really an issue of contract. The company claims their guiding principles are keeping and honoring contracts they enter into and doing right by their employees. They ignored both these principles in dealing with our client.”

At one point “Cargill and its Venezuelan affiliate started pointing fingers at each other” when trying to deal with Ortega’s benefits’ claims, stated Daniel Vielleville.

For a detailed review of the case, read the article featured in the Daily Business Review.

Please contact Peter Berlowe or Daniel Vielleville for any questions about the article and for any business litigation and international law concerns.

Peter E. Berlowe, Esq.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

3250 Mary Street, Suite 100

Miami, Florida 33133

Main:  (305) 567-5576

Fax: (305) 567-9343

Email: PEB@AssoulineBerlowe.com

http://www.AssoulineBerlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment Law, Bankruptcy, Commercial Litigation, and Corporate Law

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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Learn How to Protect Your Clients’ Valuable Intellectual Property

Assouline & Berlowe

Assouline & Berlowe patent attorneys Peter Koziol and Greg Popowitz will be speaking at a webinar focusing on Intellectual Property for the Non-IP Attorney.  The Pincus Professional Education webinar will take place on August 06, 2015 at 3 p.m. EST

To view the full announcement and register for the event, click here.

An overview of the Intellectual Property Topics that will be discussed are highlighted below.

IP is a complicated area, even for IP attorneys. For the rest of us, the nitty gritty rules are sometimes a mystery.  Listen in on this IP for the Non-IP attorney webinar so you can understand how to best protect your client and their assets. You will learn:

Origins of Intellectual Property (IP) in the United States and Internationally

  • The USPTO is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce (Patents and Trademarks)
  • WIPO covers International IP rights
How a non-IP lawyer can identify IP to Protect their Clients and Generate Value for the Business (Emphasis on Patents)
  • Patents (patent process, patentability opinions, freedom to operate opinions; limited time)
    • Design, Utility, Plant Patents
  • Trademarks (common law, state, federal rights; rights continue with use)
    • Strategy of using intent to use application vs. actual use application
  • Copyrights, and
  • Trade Secrets
What Does IP Protection Provide?
  • IP creates value to the business (it is an asset owned by the business)
  • Protects inventions, brands, etc. of the business, which can provide a marketing and sales edge over competitors
  • Patents – generate new business opportunities since a patent gives you an exclusive right
  • Licensing and sales opportunities
  • Access to Financing
  • Leverage in Litigation (damage calculations and discovery access)
  • Leverage in Business (assets and monopoly like rights)
How to Secure International Protection
  • Work with international: IP counsel, companies and connections, and markets
  • Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
  • Madrid Protocol (trademarks)
  • Industrial Designs Treaty
  • Berne Convention
General Considerations for IP
  • Coordinate with transactional and litigation counsel, insurance providers, venture capital, and tax counsel
  • Bankruptcy and creditor rights impact
  • Receiver/trustee
  • Estate planning
Common Mistakes and Misconceptions
  • Poor man’s copyright
  • Statutory Bar Date (Loss of Rights)
    • Public Use/Disclosure (trade shows, publications, offers to sell)
    • Social Media Posts
  • Non-Disclosure Agreements
  • Priority of Use

For questions about the webinar or any Intellectual Property matters, contact Peter Koziol or Greg Popowitz below.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy, Business Litigation, Corporate & Finance, Real Estate, International Law

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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Update: Federal Trade Commission Prosecutes It’s First Crowdfunding Case

Federal Trade Commission

In a recent blog post on this subject, Assouline & Berlowe outlined pertinent provisions of Florida’s Intrastate Crowdfunding legislation. The new law is aimed at assisting venture entrepreneurs and smaller businesses raise investment capital through general solicitation and without the usual high transaction costs. By utilizing an intermediary online platform, individuals and businesses can reach a vast number of potential investors; usually those who have limited amounts to invest. As with all searches for “The Next Big Thing,” Caveat Emptor!

On June 11, 2015, in its first crowdfunding case, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced legal action against a promoter who used the online intermediary platform Kickstarter.com to solicit funds to produce The Doom That Came to Atlantic City; a board game. Parenthetically, Kickstarter.com successfully raised over $1 billion since its inception. Crowdfunding online platforms raised approximately 2.7 billion in 2012, and approximately $5.1 billion in 2013.

The FTC files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the FTC that a proceeding is in the public interest. Stipulated orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge. This case is part of the FTC’s consumer protection program related to FinTech; the use of new and emerging financial technology

The FTC and the promoter reached a case settlement. The promoter is

  • prohibited from making any deceptive representations in any future crowdfunding campaign;
  • required to honor any stated refund policy;  and
  • barred from disclosing or benefiting from customers’ personal information, and failing to dispose of such information properly

A $111,793.71 judgment was also imposed against the promoter; but was suspended because of his inability to pay. If it is found that he misrepresented his financial condition, it will be reinstated.

In its announcement, Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said:

“Many consumers enjoy the opportunity to take part in the development of a product or service through crowdfunding, and they generally know there’s some uncertainty involved in helping start something new. But consumers should be able to trust their money will actually be spent on the project they funded.”

According to the FTC, the promoter, doing business as , Co., raised $35,000, promising certain rewards. He raised more than $122,000 from 1,246 backers, most of whom pledged $75 or more.  After 14 months, the promoter cancelled the project promising to return the funds. Neither the funds nor the promised rewards were provided to the investors. The FTC’s complaint alleged that the promoter “spent most of the money on unrelated personal expenses and for a different project.”

The FTC’s Complaint outlined the Kickstarter.com “campaign:”

To initiate a Kickstarter “campaign,” the project creator develops a “homepage” that provides information (usually including a video and multiple pictures) about the product, service, or content that will be created with the raised funds. This homepage serves as the launch point for the entire project. In addition to information about the final product, the homepage provides information about the total amount of money needed for the project and the number of days left to fund it. Project creators can choose the length of the fundraising period, but Kickstarter limits the maximum time period to 60 days.

Kickstarter is structured for “all or nothing” funding. If the creator does not raise sufficient funds to meet the original fundraising goal within the time period agreed to, the creator does not receive any money and no backer is charged.

Kickstarter’s Terms of Use stated that Kickstarter funds must be used on a project with a “clear goal” that “produces” a deliverable.

Every project’s homepage offers multiple “pledge” options. Each tier promises specific deliverables or, in Kickstarter parlance, “rewards.” Usually, the higher the amount pledged, the greater the rewards promised to the consumer.

To become a project “backer” on Kickstarter, a consumer must first locate that project’s homepage by searching for the project by its name or by browsing the various categories and subcategories within Kickstarter’s main page. A consumer has the option of searching for a project by category (e.g., dance, food, games, etc.) or location (e.g., city or state). Kickstarter’s main homepage also features “staff picks” or “popular projects that appear as soon as you arrive at the website. Clicking on the title of the project takes the consumers to its homepage.

From the project homepage, consumers can select the amount they wish to pay.

Kickstarter will prompt the consumer for his credit card information. The consumer will not be charged until the fundraising period is complete and the project reaches its funding goal. Once the project reaches its funding goal, Kickstarter charges the consumer’s credit card and transmits the money to the project creator. In the event that a project reaches its funding goal but is unable to provide rewards to its backers, Kickstarter’s Terms of Use (as existing in the current case) stated that the project creator must refund the consumers the amount pledged.

Crowdfunding is becoming an important fund raising tool. Initially developed from philanthropic campaigns, the process allows small investors greater participation in free enterprise. For the entrepreneur closed to traditional capital sourced, it can provide the “seed money” to take a concept to IPO. With all financial products, due diligence is important and skepticism critical!

To view the see the full FTC release, click here.

For more information on Crowdfunding or other Venture Capital or Private Equity matters, please contact:

Carl H. Perdue, JD, LLM
Senior Counsel and Partner
Business and Finance

The above material is for information purposes only; and is not to be considered legal or financial advice.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main:  (561) 361-6566

Fax: (561) 361-6466

Email: CHP@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

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DRONE ON: Will UAV Pilots Fly At Their Own Risk Under New FAA Rules?

UAV

You don’t hear the silent rotors of the 4-armed drone flying above your backyard as you sunbath au natural. The $4k camera, however, records in vivid detail everything you’re doing and streams 1080p video to a videographer in a car more than a mile away. Next thing you know, you are an unwilling YouTube sensation.

You’re driving your car south on Biscayne Boulevard, talking to your office on your Bluetooth microphone when, after a bit of static, the cellphone connection drops. Within a few seconds, cellphone-controlled drones, one out delivering a new 55-inch flat screen television from an online retailer, begin to crash into each other and then fall onto moving cars. Chaos ensues. If you curse the periodic dropped call, just wait until you start seeing dropped drones.

It can also be worse, the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] reported that, on March 22, 2014, a drone nearly collided with a U.S. Airways flight traveling from Charlotte, North Carolina en route to Tallahassee, Florida.

With the FAA estimating that, once enabling rules are established, “roughly 7,500 commercial sUAS [small Unmanned Aircraft Systems] would be viable at the end of five years.”

On February 15, 2015, the FAA released a summary of the major provisions of its proposed UAS rules (known as Part 107). While a few of the proposed rules are more liberal than anticipated, most follow the historical view of the agency in treating UAS more like private planes than the concept that they represent for the future. Before outlining the proposals, a short history of the FAA’s previous attempts to regulate drones.

The Pirker case was the first challenge to the FAA’s attempt to regulate small unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs] under existing policies (Administrator v. Pirker, FAA Case No. 2012EA210009, NTSB Docket No. CP-217). Raphael Pirker used a small, remote-controlled model power glider to take aerial photos for advertising purposes at the University of Virginia campus. The FAA alleged that the glider was endangering people on the ground and property on the campus. The FAA cited Pirker for violating a ban on commercial UAS usage, and for operating an unmanned aerial vehicle [UAV] “in a careless and reckless manner,” pursuant to 14 C.F.R. §91.13, putting it under the FAA’s authority to enforce flight safety. Further, the FAA argued that it had authority to regulate the UAV because any device intended for flight is an “aircraft,” including this small UAV. Pirker did not have a pilot’s license and was assessed a civil penalty of $10,000 for violation of a 2007 FAA Policy Statement.

Pirker filed a motion to dismiss, choosing to challenge the violation on grounds that there is no existing FAA regulation governing the operation of model aircraft, and that the FAA’s Policy Statements concerning the operation of UAVs are not binding or enforceable. Further, Pirker argued that the power glider was not an “aircraft” as contemplated by the regulations, and that the FAA had no jurisdiction to regulate model aircraft in airspace below 400 feet (i.e., navigable airspace for manned aircraft).

In a decision issued March 7, 2014, the NTSB judge held that the power glider was not an “aircraft”—rather, it was a small UAV that otherwise qualified as a model aircraft (i.e., an aircraft under 55 pounds, being operated below 400 feet)— even if it was engaged in commercial operations. Further, it was held that the FAA had no authority without properly enacted rules (as opposed to “policy statements”) to regulate this type of drone, whether or not it was being used for commercial purposes. The NTSB judge also pointed out that the FAA had historically treated model aircraft separately from other types of “aircraft,” so its position with respect to Pirker was not consistent with that historical distinction.

The FAA appealed the decision for review by the full National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB]. On November 17, 2014, the NTSB reversed the judge in finding that “[a]n aircraft is ‘any’ ‘device’ that is ‘used for flight in the air’,” and therefore subject to the requirements of 14 C.F.R. §91.13(a) to not operate an aircraft “in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.” contrary to § 91.13(a).

Commercial drone operators have been concerned that the FAA will use the ruling to shut down all but governmental drone use and have been lobbying Congress to “open up the skies”. The skies will open up sooner rather than later. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act (Public Law 112-95), required that the FAA come up with a plan for “safe integration” of UAS by September 30, 2015. The newly proposed rules do not eliminate commercial drones but would impose limitations that have been made obsolete by the rapidly advancement of drone technology. A short outline of the more restrictive proposals:

  • Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only; the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the operator or visual observer and close enough to the operator for the operator to be capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses. First-person view camera cannot satisfy “see-and-avoid” requirement but can be used as long as requirement is satisfied in other ways.
  • Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly involved in the operation.
  • Daylight-only operations (official sunrise to official sunset, local time).
  • Maximum airspeed of 100 mph (87 knots).
  • Maximum altitude of 500 feet above ground level.
  • Minimum weather visibility of 3 miles from control station.
  • No person may act as an operator or VO for more than one unmanned aircraft operation at one time.
  • No careless or reckless operations.
  • Requires preflight inspection by the operator.
  • Operators would be required to:
    • Pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
    • Be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration.
    • Obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating (like existing pilot airman certificates, never expires).
    • Pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.
    • Be at least 17 years old.
    • Make available to the FAA, upon request, the small UAS for inspection or testing, and any associated documents/records required to be kept under the proposed rule.
    • Report an accident to the FAA within 10 days of any operation that results in injury or property damage.
    • Conduct a preflight inspection, to include specific aircraft and control station systems checks, to ensure the small UAS is safe for operation. FAA airworthiness certification not required.
    • Maintain the UAS in condition for safe operation and prior to flight must inspect the UAS to ensure that it is in a condition for safe operation.
  • Aircraft Registration required (same requirements that apply to all other aircraft).
  • Aircraft markings required (same requirements that apply to all other aircraft). If aircraft is too small to display markings in standard size, then the aircraft simply needs to display markings in the largest practicable manner.

The new rules are similar to exemptions granted by the FAA under its nearly complete ban on commercial use of UASs. Prior exemptions have been limited to newsgathering organizations (most recently, CNN), British Petroleum (for surveying the Alaskan north slope), six movie productions, one construction company, an agricultural producer, and, just this year, to a real estate agent in Tucson, Arizona. CNN’s recent an exemption was issued in conjunction with the Georgia Tech Research Institute to order to test proposed safety rules and protocols for news use. The real estate agent will be helped by the new rules as the 33 limitations imposed by his exemption granted earlier this year were more restrictive than that currently proposed and included:

  • Operations were required to be conducted by a pilot possessing at least a private pilot certificate and at least a current third-class medical certificate;
  • Prior to operations conducted for the purpose of aerial videography/cinematography and augmenting real estate listing videos (or similar operations), the pilot must have logged a minimum of 25 hours of total time as a UAS rotorcraft pilot including at least 10 hours logged as a UAS pilot with a multi-rotor UAS;
  • Flight operations must be conducted at least 500 feet from all nonparticipating persons, vessels, vehicles, and structures unless: barriers or structures are present that sufficiently protect nonparticipating persons (as opposed to the limits of the new rules about flying over a non-participant).

While some of the other exemption limitations may find their way into the FAA’s rules, the FAA has at least attempted to loosen some of its earlier restrictions.

Notwithstanding the more liberal nature of the proposals, US commercial interests have arguments over the rules based on competition from other countries. Amazon has tested drones in Canada and Google in Australia. Testing facilities are already moving out of this country. Many commercial users, such as real estate photographers, delivery companies, and the like, are concerned that they will be left out in the cold with only large companies receiving exemptions. While I believe that no one can really object to the minimum training imposed on drone operators, technology has clearly outstripped the VLOS and daylight limitations.

So, where will drones take us? To infinity and beyond? Or a legal morass? Time will tell, but we may not have to wait long for an answer.

For any questions about drones, new rules, and the impact on the real estate industry, please contact Michael Greene below.

Michael S. Greene, Esq.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

Email: msg@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy, Business Litigation, Corporate & Finance, Real Estate, International Law

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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Fountainebleau Las Vegas Bankruptcy is Not Finished

Bankruptcy Litigation

Today, nearly five years since the Fountainebleu Las Vegas bankruptcy was initially filed, at the height of the economic downturn and the crest of the real estate crisis, the Trustee Soneet Kapila filed two new adversary proceeding lawsuits seeking to recover alleged preferential transfers made to third parties by one of the debtors.  The two defendants that were sued in two separate preference actions are the internationally known company Honeywell International, Inc. and L.A. Nevada, Inc. dba G&G Systems.

Focusing on the L.A. Nevada, Inc. G & G Systems case, the Trustee was appointed in 2010 and according to the Complaint a demand for the return of the payment was made on March 4, 2011.

A copy of the demand letter is not attached, nor is any contract that establishes the basis upon which the payment to this vendor was made.

As with most of these cases, it is possible that one or more defenses may apply that may reduce, if not eliminate, the claim.  For example, there may be a Ordinary Course of Business Defense, which is when a debt is paid under ordinary terms that would be expected based upon the relationship of the parties.

Another defense that often comes up in these preferential transfer cases is New Value Defense, which states that if new value, either in the form of goods or services, was extended to the Debtor at the time that the payment was made, it may constitute a defense to all or part of the claim.

Either way, it is certain that this party is probably not happy to receive this lawsuit almost five years after the case was initially filed and almost three years after a demand for payment was made and apparently refused.

If you have a bankruptcy litigation question you would like answered, please do not hesitate to contact Eric N. Assouline.

00099212

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE – The BUSINESS LAW Firm

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com

With offices in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Boca Raton

ERIC N. ASSOULINE, ESQ.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment Law, Bankruptcy, Commercial Litigation, and Corporate Law

Miami · Ft. Lauderdale · Boca Raton

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Eric N. Assouline
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