By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Staff Reporter
EMBATTLED businessman and impresario Rudolph Kermit King yesterday said he has sought local and international legal advice over the return of a 23-count indictment by the US Attorney’s office.
Defending his integrity as a philanthropist, Mr King, known as “Rudy”, said he had not been contacted by any authorities over the shocking allegations, which he feels have resurfaced as part of a personal vendetta against him.
Mr King speculated over the fraud charges levied against him as he claimed that he has not left the Bahamas in seven years.
Meanwhile, US authorities were tight lipped yesterday over whether or not an extradition request has been filed with the Bahamas government.
In response to Tribune questions over the status of the case, district public affairs officer Annette Castillo said: “Department of Justice policy prohibits us from commenting on pending cases.”
The indictment was said to be the result of joint investigative efforts of the US Secret Service and the US Postal Inspection Service and includes charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in a scheme to defraud.
According to the indictment, Mr King created bogus corporations that he then used to create merchant accounts with credit card processors.
In an interview with The Tribune, Mr King stressed that he did not wish for past controversy to resurface, adding that he feels the latest round of accusations are part of a conspiracy to destroy him.
In 2004, Mr King was accused of attempting to defraud American Express of $400,000. According to Tribune records, the credit card company was awarded a judgment against him.
Mr King was declared bankrupt by the Bahamas Supreme Court in 2006 – the result of an unpaid $800,000 debt for house renovations. The order was set aside in November 2008, at which time Mr King – also known as Dr Rudolph King-Laroda – declared he was “putting three years of hell behind him”.
Meanwhile, in 2007, Mr King was detained in Los Angeles, California, allegedly in connection with an attempt to defraud the US government’s Internal Revenue Service of $2.7 million.
Mr King appeared in court, was charged and granted bail, but nothing more was heard of the matter.
In 2008, King was arrested at the Cable Beach Police Station and later charged with three counts of deceit of a public officer. It was alleged that while at the station Mr King tried to deceive a police corporal with intent to evade the requirements of the law.
He was represented by Murrio Ducille, who told The Tribune in 2010 that charges were still pending.
Yesterday, Mr King said: “I don’t have anything to hide. I felt bad about it and I’m taken aback. I know nothing about it: it is a total surprise to me. I’m speaking to my lawyers locally and abroad because I think someone here locally, they are trying to destroy me. I have not been out of this country for the last seven years.
“I know nothing about what’s happening, nobody has contacted me. There is a certain individual working with US authorities who would like to see Rudolph King gone. The lawyers are giving me advice. We are going to take the necessary steps, it’s just a bad feeling all the good that you have done. I’m always doing community work; I work with the Red Cross – that’s my passion, helping people. All I’m doing now is in prayer. I have not done anything, I have not been out of here in 7 years. At my age now, I’m 45, I have had enough.”
In its statement last Thursday, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida listed Mr King as a 46-year-old resident of Nassau.
If convicted, Mr King faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud and wire fraud, plus fines and restitution, and a consecutive two years in jail for each count of aggravated identity theft in a scheme to defraud.