A U.S. Magistrate judge on Thursday ordered Radu and Diana Nemes to remain detained pending the resolution of their extradition case.

The Nemeses' lawyer said she would appeal the decision.

Court documents reveal that agents found an underground bunker at the couple's property where they were building a "luxury home," and found more than a half dozen firearms, including an AR-15 "assault rifle," in the residence where the couple was living.

The Nemeses were students of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment, which is reported to encourage students to build underground bunkers.

Radu Nemes, 39, and his wife Diana Nemes, 38, who were arrested on Tuesday under an extradition treaty with Romania, are accused of defrauding the Romanian government of the equivalent of about $73 million, according to court documents. The Nemeses are also accused of laundering money, and allegedly used the funds to purchase vehicles, business interests and living expenses, and to construct a luxury home. Court documents also state they purchased a 67 percent interest in Eagleview Hill, LLC, the corporation that owns Eagleview Hill Winery in Rainier and Salida Wine Bar in Yelm. Winery owner Doug McCrea said Diana Nemes didn't fulfill her contractual obligations and no longer has a stake in the company. Additionally, her investment in the company never amounted to more than 50 percent, he said.

Diana Nemes had requested a bail hearing, arguing she was not a flight risk and that "special circumstances" justified her release on bail.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Strombom wrote in a detention order that Diana Nemes "is a flight risk" and "did not ... (present) sufficient special circumstances to justify release on bail."

Radu Nemes didn't request a bail hearing and was ordered detained.

The Nemeses' lawyer argued in court documents that her client was not a flight risk, not a danger to the community, and said the evidence against her laid out by the U.S. government in court documents was weak.

U.S. Attorneys argued in court documents that Diana Nemes would pose a "significant risk of flight and a substantial danger to the community" if released, and wrote that she has access to "millions of dollars in hidden profits" generated by the Romanian tax fraud scheme she's accused of helping to orchestrate.

Martha Boersch, the Nemeses' lawyer, argued Thursday the fact that Diana Nemes is approximately five months pregnant constitutes a "special circumstance" allowing her release on bail. The Nemeses also have two boys, ages 6 and 9, Boersch said. She argued her client should be released to care for the boys, who are currently in custody of the state of Washington Department of Child and Family Services.

Incarceration may jeopardize Diana Nemes' pregnancy, Boersch wrote in a memorandum supporting Diana Nemes' release, and "given the likely duration of extradition proceedings, incarceration will mean her child will be born in jail and her existing children will be wards of the state."

The U.S. government contended in court documents that the federal detention center where the Nemeses are being held is capabale of fulfilling Diana Nemes' medical needs during her pregnancy, and said the center offers prenatal visits from OB/GYN specialists, prenatal vitamins are provided, and ongoing medical issues are monitored. When inmates are ready to deliver a baby, U.S. Marshals take them to an outside hospital to deliver the child.

Boersch argued there is no specific evidence of Diana Nemes' involvement in the tax evasion scheme the government alleges she and her husband participated in. Diana Nemes is not charged with money laundering in Romania, according to Boersch.

"(Diana Nemes) was arrested at or near the home she has lived in since she moved to the United States," Boersch writes in court documents. "Since she has been here she has lived openly with no effort to conceal her identity or whereabouts. Although she has known that the Romanian authorities would likely pursue her here, she has not fled. She has, instead, put her faith in this country's legal system, hoping to obtain its protections against a charge that is unsupported by reliable evidence, but entails the grave risk that she will be jailed on those unsupported charges in a country with a judicial system that is notoriously corrupt."

Boersch laid out in court documents various facts she said assert that Diana Nemes is not a flight risk: she has lived in the Yelm area, with her children attending school there, and has "substantial ties" to the area; she has "known about the Romanian investigation and made no effort to flee" and "lived openly and did not flee from authorities"; she has attempted to "legalize her presence" in the United States; her failure to appear for extradition hearings would impact her immigration status and "destroy any hope she has of being allowed to stay here"; and she "made no effort to flee even when she received suggestions of the Romanian authorities' continuing interest in pursuing her."

Boersch argued there is "absolutely nothing" in the government's complaints against Diana Nemes suggesting she presents any danger to the community.

If the court were to accept at face value the charges against Nemes, Boersch wrote, the charged conduct was "abberational," and the alleged crimes are financial and not violent; "indeed, they are allegations of tax evasion in a country with a notoriously corrupt government; and Diana Nemes' role appears minor," she wrote.

In its memorandum opposing release on bail, U.S. attorneys write that there is a presumption against bail in international extradition cases, because it's necessary for the U.S. to meet its treaty obligations.

"A person sought for extradition already is an international fugitive from justice; it is reasonable to think that person would flee if alerted to the charges," they write. "Even if the person were not in flight, the fact of an impending extradition to a foreign country to face serious criminal charges, the outcome of which is uncertain, is itself a strong incentive to flee."

Honoring extradition treaties is also necessary so the U.S. can expect reciprocation from other countries, they add.

"It is important that the United States be regarded in the international community as a country that honors its agreements in order to be in a position to demand that other nations meet their reciprocal obligations to the United States," they write.

In the memorandum, U.S. attorneys write, "during the execution of the search warrants of the Nemes' property located at 16549 Vail Road SE, Yelm, Washington, the property upon which the Nemes were constructing a massive log home, agents found and searched as well a fully equipped and furnished underground bunker, the entrance of which was controlled by steel doors which could be sealed from the inside." They write that the bunker could have comfortably housed the entire Nemes family for months or years, judging by the amount of food stored in the structure. Because the bunker has not been seized pending a forfeiture case, it would still have been available to Diana Nemes pending her release, they write.

More than half a dozen firearms, including an AR-15 "assault rifle," were found at the couple's residence at 16621 Deer Ridge Lane, according to court documents. Because the Nemeses' visas had expired and U.S. immigration authorities had issued detainers for them, according to the U.S. attorneys, the Nemeses were in possession of the guns illegally.

Boersch said there was no evidence any of the guns belonged to Diana Nemes.

In response to the claim by Boersch that the government will be unable to establish probable cause that Diana Nemes was involved in the Romanian crimes for which she was charged, U.S. attorneys argue there is documentation establishing her involvement in the scheme, and cites the evidence gathered by Romanian authorities submitted as part of its extradition request.

"This evidence establishes Diana Nemes' integral involvement in hiding the excess profits generated by the sale of the higher priced diesel fuel, via an account in Dubai in the name of Corralys Investments Limited, through the retention of an attorney at the time Romanian law enforcement authorities searched the attorney's office, in which Ms. Nemes expressed her concern that the authorities would discover financial documents regarding accounts held in Dubai, UAE, together with the discovery of a bank statement from Barclay's Bank in Dubai in the search clearly constitute probable cause to establish her involvement in the tax fraud scheme and in support of the criminal organization carrying it out," they write.

Strombom said there is no presumption of release in extradition cases, unless the person being extradited can show to the court that they are not a flight risk, not a danger to the community, and had other special circumstances.

Strombom said the only possible special circumstance raised was the need for Nemes' two sons to be cared for, but it didn't constitute a legal special circumstance, she said. The children are being cared for by the state, she said.

Strombom set an extradition hearing for 1:30 p.m. May 22.

[Note: This story was updated with additional information about Diana Nemes' investment in Eagleview Hill Winery.]

Previous Story:

A Yelm couple accused of defrauding the Romanian government of $68.9 million was arrested by the FBI on Tuesday for extradition to Romania on charges of tax evasion.

According to documents filed in U.S. Western District Court in Tacoma (scroll below the story to read the documents in full), Radu Nemes, 39, and his wife, Diana Nemes, 38, have been charged in Romania with tax evasion stemming from a tax fraud scheme that defrauded the Romanian government of nearly $69 million. The couple was also reportedly charged with setting up an organized criminal group.

The Nemeses are also accused of laundering money, and allegedly used the funds to purchase vehicles, business interests and living expenses, and to construct a luxury home. Court documents also state they purchased a 67 percent interest in Eagleview Hill, LLC, the corporation that owns Eagleview Hill Winery in Rainier and Salida Wine Bar in Yelm.

Doug McCrea, owner of the winery, told the Nisqually Valley News Wednesday he was introduced to the Nemeses by Greg Simmons, who retired from his position as director of marketing at the Ramtha School of Enlightenment (RSE) last March. McCrea also identified the Nemeses’ as former RSE students.

A message left for a representative of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment Wednesday afternoon wasn’t returned by press time.

McCrea said Wednesday morning he had no idea of the Nemeses’ alleged criminal past when they invested in his company. The couple has not been involved in the business since October, he said.

According to court documents, a company the Nemeses controlled imported diesel fuel into Romania. The company sold approximately 990,000 tons of diesel fuel and falsely reported it as lower-grade industrial and maritime fuel at a lower tax rate, avoiding a tax liability of approximately 53 million Euros — the equivalent of about $68.9 million at current exchange rates, court documents state.

Romanian investigators discovered a large portion of the money was reportedly transferred out of Romania and laundered through accounts controlled by the Nemeses in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Nemeses and their associates opened numerous shell companies used to “launder the excess criminal proceeds of these sales and give the false appearance that the funds represented proceeds of sales of lower grade fuel,” court documents state.

According to court documents, the Nemeses were living in Yelm on expired visas, and had several U.S. bank accounts used to transfer “the proceeds of their Romanian crimes” into the U.S. from accounts in Dubai.

The Nemeses allegedly used the funds to purchase vehicles, business interests and living expenses, and to construct a luxury home at 16545 and 16459 Vail Road SE in Yelm.

“The Nemeses and their associates have utilized multiple bank accounts and shell corporations in the United States to conceal and disguise the nature, source, location, and control of the proceeds generated by the activity that resulted in charges being filed in Romania,” court documents state.

A complaint for forfeiture filed in district court lists several Yelm properties the Nemeses owned that were allegedly tied to money laundering.

They include properties at 9144 Burnett Road SE; 16621 Deer Ridge Lane SE; and the properties where they were allegedly building a luxury home.

The property at Deer Ridge Lane was believed to be the Nemeses’ current primary residence, court records state.

According to court documents, an amended operating agreement filed March 30, 2013, added Diane Nemes as a 67 percent member of Eagleview Hill, LLC, in exchange for a capital contribution of $300,000, of which $100,000 was payable within three business days. Diana Nemes was identified as the managing member.

Between Jan. 29 and April 12, 2013, Diana Nemes wired $65,000 in U.S. funds to Eagleview Hill, LLC, court documents state.

According to court documents, Diana Nemes’ contribution to the business is “more likely than not” traceable to the transfer of funds representing the proceeds of a specified unlawful activity into the U.S. “in a manner to conceal their source and/or a transaction” involving the proceeds of the unlawful activity.

“Diana Nemes’ … (67 percent) interest in Eagleview Hill, LLC … therefore constitutes property involved in money laundering and property traceable to such property.”

According to McCrea, Simmons first introduced him to the Nemeses’ sometime in the fall of 2012. The couple ultimately decided to invest in the winery.

Diana Nemes was the only one who actually signed paperwork investing in the company, McCrea said.

Diana Nemes initially expressed she wanted to invest in the company to obtain an E-2 visa, McCrea said. Such a visa allows a non-citizen to stay in the United States predicated on their being the majority owner of a business. McCrea said he wasn’t concerned at the time about making Diana Nemes the majority owner of the business.

McCrea said sometime last September, the couple told him they weren’t pleased with where the business was going. Simmons and the Nemeses met with McCrea’s accountant, who outlined the nature of the business and pointed out when the company was likely to break even, and when it was likely to make a profit, he said. By the nature of the business, he said, there’s a large gap between when the product gets made and when it gets sold.

The couple came to McCrea in September, when the company had already committed to purchasing all of its grapes — $60,000 in grapes, McCrea said.

McCrea said he remembers the exact words Radu Nemes said to him: “Old business, no good. New business, good.”

McCrea said he and his wife asked him to explain what he meant. All Nemes said was, “You will know soon,” he said.

Simmons came to McCrea a few days later with a purchase and sales agreement; the Nemeses wanted to purchase the entire company, McCrea said. If he made a decision not to sell the company within 72 hours, the Nemeses would stop funding the company, McCrea said he was told.

He said the price the Nemeses offered to pay was about a third of the value of the company’s inventory.

He said he refused to sell the company and on Oct. 1, the Nemeses cut the company off financially. Since then, McCrea and the company have had no contact with the Nemeses or with Simmons, he said.

Diana Nemes at that point failed to provide the financial investment necessary to comply with the operating agreement, and ceased to be the majority owner of the company, McCrea said.

With the company having already committed to a $60,000 grape purchase, the Nemeses’ departure hurt the company, McCrea said.

“They have … already crippled the company by having fundamentally pulled the plug on the financing,” he said.

Even so, the company is holding on and seeking new investors, he said.

McCrea said he learned of the Nemeses’ alleged crimes in Romania a couple weeks before they were arrested, but was concerned about potentially being retaliated against if he contacted law enforcement agencies.

“I was concerned about retribution, that there could potentially be some problems there,” he said. “Who knows? I wasn’t going out looking for it, because what they did, they did. It was over. And I’m not the kind of person to go back and say ‘Oh, I’ll get ‘em.’

“I figured, OK, they will create their own destiny. And they have.”

 

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(17) comments

bauermama4

Wow. Little town. Big stuff. The kind of stuff made for TV movies are about.

eyeswideopen

They learned a lot from the local Cultist at RSE I see...

Jason54

Actually it sounds like the alleged did not "learn a lot" from the school. I was there and I didn't learn to do anything illegal.

eyeswideopen

Since you are showing support for the RSE Jason, maybe you are not taught to do anything illegal but the Cultist in charge is using people for her personal gain, not for your own personal education. What were the shelters for? Lizard people coming from the Mountain? Have you found your butterfly?

Jason54

There are easier ways to achieve personal gain then do what she is doing. So it's not very plausible that that is the reason. Also, I never heard about the lizard people. I'd like to see that quote.

Jasper

The big guy had no clue about these two eh?[wink]

CNichols

Of course they found an underground bunker and guns. They were doing what they were told to do by JZ Knight, right down to the food and waterproof door. I think JZ needs to be accountable for the fear she has been spreading for years. I feel for the poor boys in this situation. I feel for all the children that lived through countless scares that the world was going to end. It can be extremely damaging to kids psychologically to live in fear. In May 2000 JZ told everyone to go underground or go camping because the planets aligning may cause the whole earth to tilt axis and flood everyone. Then there were the solar flares that were going to fry everyone. Countless things found elsewhere on the internet fear conspiracy sights, but they seemed real because of the belief there was a god Ramtha and he was telling you to save yourself like Noah and the Arc.

Jason54

I personally don't recall any advice on getting guns! Since when did camping become such a terrible thing? Sounds like a fun adventure! Yes, I'm sure you do "feel for the poor boys in this situation."[wink] Your compassion is masked by your other feelings.

two Isles

who are the people who get paid for building these underground bunkers?
Is Thurston County taxing these shelters? Does Thurston County even KNOW about it?
Why such large guns and ammunitions? Do the owners own these guns legally?

Did the real estate agent who sold them these properties think it somewhat odd that cash was paid for these properties, especially from foreigners?

Something isn't adding up.....

Jason54

You sound so curious and concerned[wink]

Sunnyone

The commenters below, the usual "hate squad" that will use any and every opportunity to malign JZ Knight and RSE, need to do some research as to the extremely LARGE number of groups in the US that recommend having "emergency food storage" as well as underground shelters, medical supplies, water storage, and yes, even basic firearms in some cases. Every local fire department in the country now recommends having emergency supplies and a "plan" in case of earthquake or other natural disasters. Many other groups, none of which are related in any way to RSE also recommend underground shelters and emergency supplies....including our own government which built underground "bunkers" in the not so distant past when there was great concern about nuclear strikes. Our own government has spent millions on underground facilities for the military and our political leaders....as have the governments of many other industrialized nations across the globe. Yet again, here we have the usual ignorant bleating of those that would like you to believe that RSE is the ONLY group on the planet that believes in preparedness and self-reliance. It's become very tiresome to hear them use every opportunity to lie and misrepresent RSE in order to only promote their own hate agenda. Whether this Romanian couple is actually guilty of what they are accused of remains to be proven, In the mean time, how about using some intelligence and logic and stop promoting your own anti RSE agenda...especially when it shows your profound lack of knowledge about what is going on in the world...and it's history.

Sunnyone

PS to my previous comment: I specifically recommend research into the underground facilities that have been constructed by the Australian government...which has been designed not only for their governmental leaders, but actually for the general population of the country as well. How amazing is that?

lamadas

Just thought you'd like to know that those 'Government' bunkers' were designed in Australia as a direct result of the treat of bush fires that occurred a few years back and not for any conspiratorial reason and BTW there is no general knowledge or usage of these bunkers within the general population of Australia.

I do find it amazing so much energy is placed in the need to survive by these 'timeless beings' After all if we are all timeless beings as is taught surely it would be of little consequence in the bigger picture that we survived a few years either way!

Sunnyone

My post did not mention or imply any "conspiratorial" motivations, only that people with common sense who are aware of what has been going on in our world are logically making some safety preparations....including the major governments of the world. It's hypocritical to criticize one group or organization for believing that such precautions are wise, when so many other groups are making the same choice. My point is that it's an illogical criticism, made by those with an agenda to cause trouble, cloud the truth, and incite fear into others about RSE....when the school is one of many, many organizations that promote safety preparations in case of earthquake or other natural disasters. In even recent years we have seen over and over, events in the world where these preparations would have helped many people...as with Sandy, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Haiti, New Orleans...and on and on and on.

Jason54

As usual the haters are missing the point but not the opportunity to pounce on an unfortunate situation pretending to have compassion. I'm sure that what these two are in trouble for was not learned or taught at the school. Having an underground shelter and being prepared is not a crime or bad advice. Neither is having guns, although I never heard any advice to get guns when I was at the school. The problem with what they allegedly did was that it was done illegally. Ive never felt I was advised to do something illegal by the teachings at the school.

stary night

The RSE school has had 10 thousand or more students pass through it's doors. In all those people not every one is "righteous" or free of any wrong doings. That would be impossible just if you were to consider the numbers that have been there.
in a small town with ten thousand people there is much criminal activity going on it's just statistics. The school does not monitor all the people that come there. Nor are they responsible for there actions. Unfortunately the public seeks to torture the school and listen to others who know nothing of it's teachings. There is criminal activity every where, churches have polygamists, pedophiles, murders, it's every where in all places where a lot of people gather under what ever guise they want to call them selves. We are not a perfect people, and we all wish we had millions of dollars and what would we do for it? Our society is based on money and we all fear not having it, and want the power of having it. . Were just human beings with a lot of
flaws. Jesus said "let those with out sin cast the first stone" What would you do if some one offered you a way to get that kind of money? And we all are angry at the taxes we half to pay. Romania is a corrupt place, just watch a documentary, or go into there history and find out about them. Or better yet check out the reality TV show called "Doomsday Preppers" I have watched that show . There are many people, good people all over the world who are looking at our government and other countries governments,, and wondering when the hammers gonna fall on them. It is a world wide phenomenon happening where people are preparing for some world catastrophe, mother nature, the fall of the financial market, it's every where. People are afraid and rightfully so. EVERY WHERE not just here in this little town of Yelm. Do research find out, the RSE school is open to the public, go see whats happening in your town. You don't know these people, or the real charges against them every thing is hear say, but even if it weren't. What right do we have to judge these people. why are we throwing stones?

stary night

(continued,) people all over the world "prepping" for the possibility of a financial collapse or mother natures hand wiping us out. It's every where in the world not just in this small little town of Yelm. Or better yet go to the RSE School and see what it's about it's open to the public. Know whats really going on in your town. We don't know what these people are being charged for or what there crimes if any are, be responsible find out from reliable sources, or better yet, mind your own business, we could all be using our energy in better way's for sure Don't you think?

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